Mine Unions yesterday staged a solidarity demonstration in support of government’s move to take over Konkola Copper Mines in Chingola and Chililabombwe.
The unions were later joined by different stakeholders, miners, ex-miners and residents of Chingola and Chililabombwe to petition government to quickly find other investors to take over operations at Konkola Copper Mines.
Joseph Chewe, the Mineworkers Union of Zambia president, charged that Vedanta Resources had failed the people of Chingola, Chililabombwe and Kitwe.
Mr Chewe led a group of youths and other three union leaders in a solidarity walk to deliver a petition later to Copperbelt minister Japhen Mwakalombe at the District Commissioner’s office in Chingola.
Mr Chewe said the unions have suffered at the hands of Konkola Copper Mines investors and it was now time for them to leave the Country.
He also advised government not to bring in Chinese to run the mines but look at other serious investors.
“We have come to deliver this petition, we heard what the President said and we are in support of what he mentioned. It is for this reason that we want Vedanta to go; time for them to pack is now, we are tired. Enough is enough, we can’t continue like this,” Chewe said.
Mr Chewe said that there was need to consider fencing off Konkola Copper Mines until another investor is identified.
And Mwakalombe said government had already made a decision and will follow the necessary steps in taking over KCM.
Mwakalombe said the petition would be delivered to President Edgar Lungu.
Vedanta Resources have, however, sought an urgent meeting with the government to discuss President Lungu’s position that they leave the mine.
And Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda yesterday told Reuters a notice had been issued to KCM in April last year over a number of breaches of the terms of its licence and it had not convinced the government it should keep the licence.
He also said “about three investors” whom he declined to identify were interested in the asset, but no formal negotiations had begun.
Meanwhile, ZCID spokesperson Jackson Silavwe has said that the recent pronouncement by President Edgar Lungu to take over Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is well timed and deserves the full support from patriotic citizens and called on President Edgar Lungu to appoint a high-level task team with extensive expertise in mining, management and economics to come up with best modalities to run Konkola Copper Mine profitably and re-examine all the existing mining agreements.
Silavwe said Zambians have been for far too long tolerated the “rants of the profit crazed mining companies”.
He said a report of a technical audit committee chaired by Dr. Sixtus Mulenga showed that KCM was heavily in debt and faced threats of insolvency as at September 30, 2013, and had maintained the same status for six years.
“Zambians are yearning for real economic development powered by their own abundant natural resources. The now Zambian is not afraid to run his own economic affairs. All the minerals belong to Zambians, the foreign investors must share the wealth or leave,” Silavwe. who is also ZCID spokesperson, said.
He further called on government to conduct forensic investigations and prosecute Vedanta Resources Limited for abrogating the agreement.
Silavwe has also urged government to run KCM professionally and avoid political patronage.