Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Paul Kabuswe has revealed conditions the New Dawn Government has given Indian investor Vedanta Mineral Resources as it seeks to reclaim Konkola Copper Mines.
The Government through ZCCM IH is currently settling the disputed ownership of KCM with the legal owner Vedanta after the two parties opted for an out of court settlement.
Speaking during President Hakainde Hichilema’s visit to the Copperbelt, Mr. Kabuswe said Government has told Vedanta to pay all suppliers and contractors, to invest in mining development and to run the mine efficiently as some of the conditions.
Mr. Kabuswe said the UPND Government told Vedanta that it was not joking on KCM issues like the PF government used to do.
Adding to President Hichilema’s explanation over government discussions with Vedanta Resources when he featured on Sun FM radio in Ndola on Thursday, Mr. Kabuswe said the government has made it clear that there shall be no ‘circus’ in the running of the mines as witnessed in the past.
Mr. Kabuswe who was asked to highlight the KCM issue by President Hichilema in an effort to clarify the details pertaining to the discussions, made it clear that the government wants to see Vedanta Resources much talked about money start working for the benefit of KCM.
“Ifyo twalandile naba Vedanta Resources elyo twaikele nabo pa table yakulanshyanya, twalibeba ati ifwe tatwishile mukwangala Nga filya balebangasha so twalibapela ifipope fyakukonka (What we discussed with Vedanta Resources when we met on the round of discussion…we told them that we are not here to play in the manner they were acquainted with in the past so we gave them a list of pointers to follow),” Mr. Kabuswe said.
Further, Kabuswe informed callers that the government has asked Vedanta Resources to use their funds to see that the hardships of the residents of the Copperbelt are addressed.
He said he was aware of the suffering of the people on the Copperbelt and consequently informed Vedanta Resources of their obligations once their dialogues are concluded.
Mr. Kabuswe also said the government has told Vedanta Resources of how badly the company handled the mine, people and workers connected to KCM where the mine is domiciled.
“Twalibebelapo ati ifyo mwasungile umugondi tefyo chifwile ukuba,mwalilufyanya, mwalichusha abantu, mwalichusha ba supplier.Ifwe ukukanshanya nenu twalamipela ifipope ifyo mwalakonka,” he said.
Furthermore, Mr. Kabuswe said once Vedanta Resources follows the guidelines on the table to make their return much better.
He said the UPND will not allow Vedanta Resources to mistreat the people of the Copperbelt Province like it did in the past.
Mr. Kabuswe said the government also told Vedanta Resources in a very strong way that it was time for serious management of the asset.
“Tulefwaya mukose, mulete amalyashi aya mugodi ayakweba ati abantu imyeo shiye patanshi…number one mulipile inkongole shonse mwashile elyo tamulaikata kuchintu ichili chonse mufwile mwalipila shonse inkongole (We want you to be strong, we want you to bring issues of the mine that will take people’s lives forward…number one, you should pay all the debt that you left behind before you even touch on anything else, pay this debt).”
He also said in the past there was playfulness in running the Mines thus has called on the involvement of technical partners in the matter.
Both President Hichilema and Mr. Kabuswe said there was no need to continue mining in court while the lives of the Copperbelt residents and Zambians in general are affected negatively by the delay by the Mines status quo.
Last month in a dramatic turn of events, Mine unions urged the New Dawn Government to bring back controversial Indian investors Vedanta Miner Resources to run the dormant Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) if it can’t find an alternative investor.
Heads of the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ), United Mineworkers Union of Zambia (UMUZ) and National Union of Miner’s and Allied Workers (NUMAW) on Monday held a joint media briefing at Katilungu House in Kitwe to advocate the return of Vedanta to run KCM.
At a briefing, Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) President Joseph Chewe claimed the situation at KCM is desperate saying the talks between the government and Vedanta should be expedited.
But opposition Golden Party of Zambia (GPZ) President Jackson Silavwe days later opposed the imminent return of Indian investor Vedanta Mineral Resources to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
Mr. Silavwe said only corrupt, inept, puppets of foreign business interests and self serving individuals and Government can talk about returning Vedanta back to KCM.
“We would like to differ with the Minister of Mines Honourable Paul Kabuswe and the 3 three mining unions, MUZ, NUMAW and UMUZ on returning Vedanta back to KCM. Vedanta’s return will be a serious indictment on our collective National thinking or the lack of it.KCM under Vedanta only benefited the owner Mr. Agarwal and his business associates. No wonder he boasted on video that KCM had been giving him $500 million every year in profit, plus an extra $1 billion since 2003 and yet KCM was declaring losses to the Zambian government,” Mr. Silavwe said.