Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu has said that the government has restarted negotiations with Mopani Copper Mines Plc to find a solution that will avoid the mine being placed under care and maintenance.
Dr Ng’andu said that it is not the desire of the government to close the mine but find solutions to sustain operations beyond 90 days.
The Minister is leading a delegation which includes Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Richard Musukwa, Minister of Labour Joyce Simukoko, Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, and Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe.
Speaking when he met Mine Unions and Mopani Copper Mines officials, Dr. Ng’andu said President Edgar Lungu has sent the team to discuss how best operations can continue running while being mindful of the challenges the mining firm is going through.
He is hopeful that discussions will center around continuing operations beyond 90 days as applied for by Mopani Copper Mines Plc to place the mine on care and maintenance.
Meanwhile, Mr. Musukwa said the government wants Mopani to structure a surviving model and engage local contractors as opposed to foreigners with a top cost profile.
Mr. Musukwa said engaging local contractors will help Mopani to deal with some of its challenges adding that the government remains open to dialogue to find a win-win situation.
And Mineworkers Union of Zambia President Joseph Chewe said Unions will not allow Glencore to close the mine and should they decide to do so they should be asked to leave.
Mopani Copper Mines Plc Acting Chief Executive Officer Charles Sakanya said the mine is faced with challenges among them VAT refunds.
The delegation is on the Copperbelt to find solutions to the challenges at Mopani Copper Mines Plc, Chambishi Metals, NFCA, Copperbelt Energy Corporation CEC, and Lubambe