Republican President Edgar Lungu says it’s not right for investors to take advantage of Zambians, saying the Copper belonged to Zambia.
President Lungu says he was greatly concerned when he heard that Mopani was threatening to fire 4700 workers saying this was the reason why he then decided to meet with Glencore ( the Mopani mine investor ) on the matter for only five minutes, today.
He said that he was saddened , during his meeting with Glencore on why Mopani was refusing to pay the new electricity tariffs, to hear claimed that they ( the investors ) have not realized profits despite being in mining for 17 years.
Addressing miners in Mufulira District today, the Head of State wondered how possible it is that an investor can keep pumping money into a company for 17 years without making profits and yet not giving up.
Mr. Lungu disclosed that he had in fact received information that there is cobalt and gold in the copper that is exported, and wondered why the mining companies in the country only declare copper but hide the gold and cobalt.
“I didn’t want to talk to the C.E.O because of his arrogance, so I decided to talk to his boss, because he’s not the owner of the company,Glencore are the owners, and they are the ones I called,” Mr. Lungu disclosed.
“So I called Glencore ,they came and we had a meeting, I just asked them, ‘do you still want to be in our country or you want a divorce?.”
The head of state said it was at that point that Glencore claimed not to be making profit.
The President said he then advised Glencore that if they do not want to reach an amicable agreement with Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), it is better they leave the country and another investor takes over.
President Lungu says it is for this reason that he will embark on mine reforms, that will ensure that part of the wealth realized from mining remains in Zambia. Zambians had been exploited for too long without knowing and this must come to an end, he said.
President Lungu said this when he addressed miners in Mufulira District , today , that operations at Mopani Copper Mines would continue as normal.
“I have come to assure you that this matter is now in the past. We expect the mine to start operating normally.”
The President added that contractors and suppliers would also continue working normally.
He told the miners that he will soon constitute a taskforce of ministers, the Zambia Revenue Authority ( ZRA ) and other stakeholders which will look into reasons why an investor can continue claiming to make no profit while investing in mining for 17 years or more.
President Lungu says it is for this reason that he has decided to form a special taskforce to look into the operations of the mines within the country.
The task force will investigate these issues and find out how the mining companies are operating within the country, he said.