Mines minister Richard Musukwa has said that following the reports of sabotage at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) which we received yesterday, a comprehensive assessment has been undertaken and that the situation is at KCM is now under control.
In a statement released to the media, the Mines Minister said that the culprits have been arrested and investigations were underway, and that Government has stepped up security especially on strategic installations.
” The smelter is intact and was not damaged in anyway. What was removed are keys to the license software. KCM has duplicate copies of the keys to the licence software which will be used in the anticipated startup of the smelter, ” the Minister said.
The Minister appealed to all the workers to be vigilant and avoid being caught up in the evil vice of stripping our own assets.
Early in the week Government said that it had unearthed a scam in which Vedanta is stripping Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) of its assets. Mines minister Richard Musukwa said Vedanta had deliberately damaged the operating system thereby crippling the KCM concentrator.
Mr. Musukwa said Vedanta was working with some Zambians and foreign contractors to ensure that the mine was flooded while the smelter remained unproductive.
He said the investor was conniving with some employees to switch off key components of the smelter.
“There was a problem purposefully created on the smelter using a computer software which is used to run and operate the smelter, it was removed by people who wanted to ground the facility.
“There was a collusion among security and laboratory personnel as well as smelter staff to steal diesel and in the recess supplied a water solvent in the form which if it went to the smelter, would have generated a problem,” Mr. Musukwa said.
Meanwhile, police on the Copperbelt are investigating the theft of a flash disc at the mine which has left operations at the smelter paralysed.
Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga yesterday said police had identified a Zambian and his Indian counterpart who were prime suspects in the theft of flash discs which contained the software.
Ms. Katanga said investigations into the matter have been launched and that the Indian was helping police with investigations.
She also said police discovered contaminated fuel at the KCM premises.