President Edgar Lungu has disclosed that Zambians have the capacity to run the country’s mining industry in an effective and efficient manner that can even grow the sector.
Speaking when he addressed Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) workers at the mine plant in Chililabombwe today, Mr. Lungu expressed happiness that the mine had increased production while under liquidation.
The President said the fact that KCM had recorded growth while in liquidation entails that Zambians have the capacity and skills to run the mining sector.
“We are proud of the way the mine has been run efficiently and effectively. It shows that we have the capacity and skills to run the mines,” he said.
Mr. Lungu further said it was government’s desire to see a number of mines run by indigenous people unlike the prevailing situation where all the mines are foreign owned.
He observed that the mining sector has a lot of indigenous people that are highly skilled to positively contribute to the development of the industry.
The Head of State has since called on the mine management and the trade union movement to work together with government to ensure the sector is further developed.
And Mines Minister Richard Musukwa said President Lungu and his administration have the interest of the workers at heart hence the resolve to ensure that they are protected.
Mr. Musukwa, who is also Chililabombwe Member of Parliament, said government would continue to ensure that the interests of the miners are protected.
Meanwhile, Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Joseph Chewe thanked the government for standing with KCM miners when the mining firm was going through turbulent times and uncertainty that led to its liquidation.
Mr. Chewe pledged the miners’ support to the Patriotic Front (PF) administration as it had taken interest in the welfare of the workers at the hands of Vedanta Resources, the Indian owned mining giant that owned KCM.
And KCM employees’ representative, a Mr. Lubasha, said the workers are happy with the manner the mines have been run by the provisional liquidator who has managed to pay redundancy packages to the affected miners.
Mr. Lubasha said the uncertainty and worries that gripped the mining community following the liquidation of KCM are a thing of the past now.
“Today we can walk with our heads high because the demon that was associated with the word liquidation has been exorcised. Any mention of the word liquidation sent shivers in our bones but now we can mention it freely,” he said.
KCM was placed under liquidation in May 2019.