Friday, February 23, 2024

Civil Society Calls on Government to Expedite Konkola Copper Mines Takeover and Prioritize Worker Conditions

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Civil society organizations are urging the government to announce who will take over the operations of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) by the end of March, as previously promised. The Zambians for Unity, Peace and Development (ZUPED) President, Ronnie Jere, is calling on the government to resolve the issues surrounding KCM and expedite the opening of Mopani Copper Mines to create more job opportunities for the people of Zambia.

Jere believes that Vedanta is still the best option to take over the operations at KCM and is hopeful that negotiations between the government and Vedanta are going well, leading to an amicable solution before the end of the month. He commended the government for unlocking the mines on the Copperbelt, including the recent opening of Mimbula mine by President Hakainde Hichilema, which is creating around 900 jobs for the local people.

However, Jere reminds the government to prioritize the working conditions of workers, stating: “We are happy that the government is opening up the mining sector and unlocking other mines. But we need to remember that the workers are the backbone of the industry. So as we unlock the mining sector, we must ensure that the working conditions of the workers are taken care of.”

The Copperbelt Civil Society Mining Consultative Forum is also urging the government to make decisions on matters affecting the mining sector, particularly Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines. The forum is disappointed that President Hakainde Hichilema did not interact with civil society organizations during his two visits to the Copperbelt province.

The Forum Chairperson, Gerald Mutelo, says: “We are challenging the government through the president to ensure that this week-long visit to the province culminates in decisions on matters affecting the mining sector.” The forum believes that while the Mopani Copper Mines issue is being handled professionally, it must be expedited with extra precaution measures required during negotiations to ensure that the government returns not less than 50% shares to maintain decision-making power.

Mutelo emphasizes the need to formalize artisanal and small-scale mining before giving licenses to Zambians, stating that taxes and dividends are not enough to steer the development required in the province. He believes that there is adequate human and financial capital available to manage the mines through the government.

The Copperbelt Civil Society Mining Consultative Forum comprises various organizations, including Democratic Governance & Human Rights Advocates-DEGHA, Southern Africa Resource Watch-SARW, Catholic Diocese of Ndola-Caritas Ndola, Emerald and Semi-Precious Minerals Association Of Zambia-ESMAZ, and Citizens For Transformation Network-CTN.

The Zambian civil society organizations are calling on the government to prioritize the working conditions of workers, resolve the issues surrounding KCM and expedite the opening of Mopani Copper Mines, and make decisions on matters affecting the mining sector.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Like the Biblical Nicodemus, Mr. Hichilema arrived at Nchanga Mine Club very late in the day. Such ownership questions about KCM would have been addressed in that Club. His trip to CB was to officiate at Mimbula Minerals: the basis for the 7 days CB visit.
    Like in the past, the month of March will lapse without announcing new mine owners.

  2. Monkey divide Muna Hantuba, Valentine Chialu and HH sharing the loot. All have been given fre shares by infestirs brought by them. All was decided in 2021 itself. Rest is all sham.

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