The Sustainable Natural Resource Empowerment Initiative (SuNREI) National Coordinator, Eugene Mulenga, has called for transparency in the negotiations between the Zambian government and Vedanta Mineral Resources, an Indian investor, regarding Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
According to Mr. Mulenga, transparency in these negotiations is crucial for ensuring a fair deal for the people of Zambia, especially for miners, suppliers, contractors, and the community. The unresolved situation of KCM has increased social ills in the mining community, such as a notable increase in incidents of crime, poverty, closure of local companies, job losses, and limited job opportunities for graduates and artisans.
Additionally, the situation has led to an increase in debt exposure to NAPSA, ZRA, and other entities by local businesses. As a solution to this issue, Mr. Mulenga has proposed a roadmap that includes publishing the economic, technical, and equipment status of KCM, inviting bidders to publicly disclose their investment bids and plans within 30 days, and shortlisting bidders based on five key pillars.
Furthermore, SuNREI proposes signing a socio-economic contract with the local community, the government, and the investor to ensure that the investor meets Zambia’s expectations and aspirations. SuNREI is a Copperbelt based NGO that advocates for policy change and community approach towards sustainable use of natural resources.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, announced that the Zambian government will soon make pronouncements on both KCM and Mopani Copper Mines, aiming to get both mines into production. The groundwork for more production in mining was laid out following the re-alignment of the tax regime in mineral royalty tax and the establishment of a more stable investment climate for the sector. The government expects the mining sector, along with supportive sectors, to perform better this year.