Government has disclosed that nine foreign companies have expressed interest to take over Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) which is currently under liquidation.
Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Richard Musukwa said among the companies interested to take over KCM are Russian, Turkish, Canadian, Australian and three Chinese companies, among others.
Mr Musukwa said government is currently engaging all stakeholders in the takeover of KCM to ensure that there is transparency.
Speaking at a Joint Press briefing with Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Dora Silya, the Minister dismissed assertions that government has already sold the mine to a Chinese company or nationalised KCM saying government is being careful to ensure that Zambians do not lose out from the natural resources.
He said the liquidator who is currently handling KCM is doing everything possible to keep the mine running, stating that so far the liquidator has made the smelter operational to ensure that the mines start making money to pay its liabilities.
He said government acted in accordance with the law to start the liquidation process of the mines because the investors failed to keep the mine afloat despite being issued with default notices twice.
He said the mines ended up with more liabilities amounting to 2.5 billion United States dollars, against assets amounting to 1.6 billion United States dollars which prompted government to start the liquidation process to save jobs for the local people.
And the Minister of Mines has clarified that KCM owes government through the Zambia Revenue Authority in taxes amounting to K3.1 Billion while government owes the mining firm about K1.4 million in refunds.
He said the mining firm failed to produce receipts of the sale of copper to claim the VAT refund which is still be disputed.
Mr Musukwa said government will announce to the nation when the bidding process starts to find a new investors once the negotiating team led by Kantanshi Member of Parliament Anthony Mumba finalise the processes.
And speaking at the same briefing, Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya emphasized that government will remain transparent as the liquidation for KCM is going on to ensure that a credible investor is found.
Ms Siliya who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Service regretted that no Zambian investor has come forward to express interest to invest in KCM.
She encouraged local investors to team up so that they can form a consortium that can run KCM saying Zambians should not be discouraged that once they come out to invest in mines they can be linked to corruption.