UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says following the placing of Chambeshi Metals on Care and Maintenance, Copperbelt Province urgently needs diversification to agriculture.
Mr Hichilema says the programme of diversifying from mining to agriculture does not need to be postponed anymore.
Mr Hichilema said under the UPND Government, the 229 miners would have been incorporated in the supply agreement with the DRC for various agriculture products or the global arrangements to supply soya beans.
He said each one would have received land for business, example if they needed land for farming, the UPND Government would have given each a minimum of 5 hectares and complete startup capital.
“At a production rate of say 4000 kg per hectare will give 20,000kg, that will translate to K110, 000 per annum, compare with their annual salary as miners of K65, 000. When we say diversity, we mean this”, he said.
About 229 workers will be laid off at Chambishi Metals on the Copperbelt by the end of this month following the placing of the mining company under care and maintenance.
Mineworkers Union of Zambia President Joseph Chewe said the workers will however be paid K45, 000 ex Gracia plus K6, 000 repatriation.
He said only 28 workers will remain at the mining company that has failed to source for stock feed to sustain its operations as they have been relying on feed stock from the Democratic Republic of Congo for its cobalt production.