The Economics Association of Zambia has supported the stance taken by Mines Minister Richard Musukwa who has asked Mopani Copper Mines to handover Mindolo North and Central shafts to the government if they have failed to run them.
Earlier last week Mopani Copper Mines Management announced the shutting down of two of its supposedly uneconomic units namely Mindolo North and Central shafts citing that they have outlived their useful life spans.
Mopani in a press release stated that management would then focus its efforts on essential capital projects which include the Synclinorium concentrator, Mindolo deeps and Henderson shaft in Mufulira.
This, the miner said this would enable it to focus on achieving both safe and productive outcomes which are essential to position Mopani for a successful future.
Mathews Muyembe, the EAZ Copperbelt Chairperson says the Association believes that this move would allow the Zambian government to offer these to local investors who will, in turn, utilise them as opportunities for employment.
Mr. Muyembe said this will assist the citizenry in bettering their livelihoods through mining the little minerals that are left in the dumps.
He said the EAZ bemoans the loss of jobs this operational shut down will result in especially that it is coming a little earlier than anticipated.
Mr. Muyembe added that the Association attaches immense value to the Copperbelt region which is Zambia’s mining hub and that loss of jobs impacts the livelihood of citizens.
Meanwhile, Mr. Muyembe has expressed displeasure at Konkola Copper Mines conduct in delaying payments to suppliers and salaries to staff and their prioritisation of foreign suppliers at the expense of locals.
He noted that the mine is on record for paying foreign suppliers upfront while local ones are dealt within 90-120 days or sometimes outside this range.
Mr. Muyembe said it is about a dry point of construction that, local obligations must be prioritised and has since advised that KCM are free to leave Zambia if they have failed to manage the mine.
He said the EAZ board find it very frustrating that KCM always arm twists the authorities at every opportunity it finds.
Mr. Muyembe emphasised that Zambia remains a favourable mining destination that most international investors have expressed immense interest.