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Sunday, September 25, 2022

UPND risk losing Copperbelt Province Support if it does not quickly address Challenges in the Mining Sector

Headlines UPND risk losing Copperbelt Province Support if it does not quickly address...

Mufulira’s Patriotic Front (PF) Kantanshi Member of Parliament Dr. Anthony Mumba has warned that the New Dawn Government risk losing people’s support on the Copperbelt if it doe not quickly address challenges facing the mining sector.

Copperbelt Province-based mining giants Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines, currently owned by the Government, are financially struggling due to lack of capital investment in the operations.

Uncertainty surrounding the controversial ownership of Mopani and KCM by the government has not helped the prospect of capital injection in the mining firms that have operations in Kitwe, Mufulira, Chingola and Chililabombwe.

The two firms have been struggling to pay suppliers and contractors who are equally failing to pay their respective workers.

After holding a meeting with selected miners, who work for various contractors under Mopani Copper Mines in Mufulira, Dr. Mumba said several miners have not received their salaries for the last three to six months from their firms.

He also revealed that recently 400 miners have had their contracts terminated by firms dealing with Mopani in Mufulira and Kitwe.

Dr. Mumba vowed to continue speaking for the miners and expressed confidence that the mining sector will be revived soon.

“I had an opportunity to address the miners who work for various contractors under Mopani Copper Mine. The contractors include Reliant as well as AAC mining among other firms. During this meeting I came to learn of the poor conditions of service as well as the sad fact that close to 400 miners have had their contracts terminated. This is in addition to the fact they have not received their salaries for the last 3- 6 months. I am urging the UPND Government to quickly come to the rescue of our dear colleagues or else the government will slowly start to lose their social and political capital they enjoyed prior to the 2021 General Elections. My dear colleagues, I will continue to push for you and speak for you and am optimistic doors will soon open for you,” Dr. Mumba said.

Meanwhile, a concerned miner has lamented the current situation prevailing at Mopani in Kitwe and Mufulira.

“A situation at Mopani Copper Mines is worsening in Mufulira and Kitwe Sites.Only Mopani direct and permanent employees are getting paid. Workers for contractors like;Reliant Zambia,Timaja Drilling,Opermin Zambia Limited,Tauro Mining have not gotten paid their monthly salaries for over 6 months.The contractors used to pay the workers using their pocket monies for a few months but can no longer manage and as we speak,normal operations have been halted.Workers are being told to go home and that they be called back when things normalises.What are they going to be eating?Other contractors (smaller ones) at Mindola Mine in Kitwe alone like JM&J, Seven Two Two Investments, Shamuchisha, Chimwenda Investments, Molencia Investments and Rechi Investments have not gotten paid their salaries for about three months now,” said the miner who calls himself voice of the voiceless.

“The money they paid their workers in the first month was just borrowed and now debtors can no longer give debts to contractors from Mopani Copper Mines saying it currently have a blurred future. Yes, the UPND government is said to be working but when you come to the mines, the mines minister Hon. Paul Kabuswe seems not to be representing the miners the way we hoped. If you can talk about those who played a very big role from the Copperbelt then 3/4 of those are miners plus their families because we had faith in the promises that President HH gave the us when he was in the opposition.We have hope that things will get better but for how long shall we wait? We are losing our jobs as we speak from the mines. If our able government looked into the issue of unemployed teachers and health workers then it is high time you also looked into the issues of Mopani which is dying drastically,” he said.

“Lastly, Sanitech (contractor company) is currently removing mobile toilets from underground because they are not receiving their wages. If not careful, a negative health crisis is about to break out soon because workers will be easing themselves in the drainage running water in that the same workers use that water for body temperature cooling.For today, I will end here hoping to get positive results going forward.This is the situation miners from Nkana and Mufulira are facing,” the miner concluded.

Meanwhile, the government is aware of the challenges Mopani and KCM are facing.

Last week, President Hakainde Hichilema pleaded with Copperbelt residents to be patient as the government addresses challenges affecting the mining sector.

President Hichilema said the Government will soon announce new developments regarding the way forward on Mopani Copper Mines that need capital investment.

The Head of State said the Government is restoring sanity in the mining sector which was left in shambles by the previous Patriotic Front regime.

Mr. Hichilema said the PF regime made a big mistake by liquidating Konkola Copper Mines and when buying Mopani Copper Mines from Swiss firm Glencore.

“We are working rapidly to unlock the Glencoe problem. You know there is a Glencoe problem in Mopani there? Where 1.5 million dollars by our friends in PF. I don’t know..Kushipula ndelanda uku, how the transaction was done I don’t understand but it’s our duty to unlock it now. We have brought in everybody on the table and very rapidly ndelomba abena Kopala, we have demonstrated to you that we can unblock things. Let us continue working together in that direction. Let us not be despondent. Let us not go and do wrong things. We are on the right path to unlock KCM and Mopani and everybody will benefit from that. What benefit will it be to say now tatulefwaya ukubomba, no we down tools when the solution is coming,” he said.

Some miners working for contracting firms under Mopani Copper Mines recently down tools over salary arrears.

On 31 March 2021, ZCCM-IH acquired 90% of the shares in Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) from Carlisa Investment Corporation, owned by Glencore and First Quantum Minerals, following approval by ZCCM-IH shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

The amount negotiated was $1.5 billion to be repaid annually over a period of 10 to 17 years.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Ba Mumba do you really care if Upnd loses popularity on the Copperbelt? Not really but because you have been connected with the supply of faulty equipment by the ACC you want to play smart eh? Of course you will get off the hook as long as you show ” care” for the Upnd.

    • HH has been presented with a proposal by a consortium of 4 Zambians. Three are based in UK & USA and one based in Zambia, who eagerly want to rescue and invest $900 millions, their own money, so that these mines can be owned by Zambians, just like we managed to run these mines in KK days without external help. Its a good deal that has been supported by 5 economist from 5 Banks in Zambia who are acting as advisors. But HH is not >>> willing to take the deal because he does not want other Zambians to be rich associated with success like him. What’s the point of talking about home grown development when we deny Zambian such aspirations in preference of foreigners.

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    • @N.A.S.A.

      Can you please highlight and disseminate this on both television, radio, newspapers, and social media and pass this information to the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) so that HH’s hypocrisy is exposed for all Zambians to see.

  2. This is all part of the mess left by the fraud convict moron lawyer lungu and his gang of theives connected to the clique…………

    Mostly the same clique connection are screaming for GRZ to tax mines more , all the while don’t have solutions to GRZ owned mines that are struggling……….

    Minister of information and UPND SG need to be changed……….there is a vacum with those two posts

    GRZ Information and UPND mobilisation are lamentable…………

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    • Over one year in office and you are still talking about PF instead of just sorting out the problems.
      That’s why govts exist, to sort out people’s problems, not to highlight them or give us history lessons as to their origins.
      Otherwise, we shall conclude that mwafilwa.

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    • The damage done by 10 years of PF would be talked about for many years to come………

      Least Zambians forget to not vote for slogans , they need to reminded everyday the importance of sound honest leadership………

    • The damage done by 10 years of PF would be talked about for many years to come………

      Least Zambians forget to not vote for slogans , they need to reminded everyday the importance of sound honest leaders………

    • Spaka… Upnd has married a divorced woman whon you failed to make pregnant after one and you continue blaming the former husband for making her system too large for your small prick.

  3. How differently would the UPND have approached MCM and KCM past story if they were in charge?
    How best was PF supposed to deal with the problem that presented then other than “liquidating” and “buying” of those institutions?

    “Mr. Hichilema said the PF regime made a big mistake by LIQUIDATING Konkola Copper Mines and when BUYING Mopani Copper Mines from Swiss firm Glencore.”

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  4. Only Zambians born yesterday will believe in a lie that the mining or economic problems started when PF took office. Anyone who is sincere in commenting on the economic challenges in Zambia can not say PF brought these problems alone. For the mines problems begin with the way privatization was handled and also the behavior of Anglo American in the manner they left because they did not come to do business like it is done in western countries but were also involved in pushing for their preferred political leaders. The PF you keep blaming used the same loans to make Zambia energy secure by building power stations, built irrigation dams, new airports, schools and hospitals. HH says he is an economist so just like they are employing teachers for schools built by the previous regime, let them…

  5. .. let them use the infrastructure built like airports, power stations, dams and the repossessed two giant mines and Zamtel to generate wealth to pay loans and improve Zambians lives. What is the clear economic plan for UPND besides blaming PF? PF’s works keep speaking for them and infrastructure song may become louder than the corruption song. UPND is so focused on finishing PF than working for Zambians. Does it mean Milingo was running KCM better than UPND? If he was paying salaries and suppliers why is UPND failing to do so?

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