Mines Minister, Paul Kabuswe says government is working on the new local content policy which will enable local mine suppliers and contractors to get quality jobs from the mines.
Mr Kabuswe said a team of Ministers working on the policy is yet to arrive on the appropriate figures.
Speaking in Kitwe during the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors mining symposium, Mr Kabuswe said government is not going to allow local contractors to pick crumbs from the mining sector but will ensure that they become key players.
” The new local content will soon be announced, we are yet to agree on the figure of businesses that should be a preserve of local suppliers and contractors, as government we realize that the benefits of the mining sector lies in the activities around it,” he said
And Mr Kabuswe challenged local suppliers and contractors to apply for mining licenses so that they can start running small scale mines.
And Mr Kabuswe has disclosed that government is in talks with Vedanta Mineral Resources to address the challenge at the mine which was put under liquidation after the previous government revoked the mining license from Vedanta Resources.
“It might look like government is slow in resolving the issues around KCM and Mopani because there is a lot of rot in the two deals which we are now cleaning up, all l can tell you is that both the Mopani Glenco deal and the liquidation of KCM were rotten, but we are in talks with Vedanta Resources, as it is there can be no solution to the KCM issue without sitting on a round table with Vedanta,” he said.
The Minister also disclosed that government has received overwhelming interests from prospective investors in Mopani.
He however stated that government will be careful in selecting an equity partner because it does not want to work with crooks.
And Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors president, Coster Mwansa appealed to government to look into the plight of local suppliers and contractors because they are the ones that support the mining sector even in bad times like now.
Mr Mwansa said mines have continued giving preference to foreign suppliers when things are going well at the expense of the local ones.
“Today as we speak our two mines on the Copperbelt are not attractive anymore to our foreign colleagues but for us we have continued to supply despite the current challenges, should these mines begin to do better, we will see mines giving business to foreign multinationals at the expense of local suppliers,” he said.
Mr Mwansa further appealed to the government to quickly assent into law the local content policy so that local suppliers can grow and start making meaningful contributions to the economy.
And Mopani Copper Mines Chief Services Officer, Justine Ndhlovu said the mining company has put in place initiatives aimed at promoting the participation of local suppliers and contractors through initiatives like its Chief Executive Officer’s interactions with vendors and the simplification of the registration process for the suppliers.
Mr Ndhlovu said the company will soon introduce the online vendor registration process to enable more suppliers and contractors to register with the company.