Debt Crisis Threatens Zambia’s Mining Industry and Contractors

Mine workers in one of the Zambian Mines on the Copper belt
Mine workers in one of the Zambian Mines on the Copper belt

Zambia’s mining industry is facing a challenging period as Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) find themselves entangled in a severe financial crisis. These mining giants are burdened with a staggering debt of approximately $200 million owed to more than 400 mine suppliers and contractors. The implications of this crisis are far-reaching, raising concerns about the stability of the companies involved and the broader impact on the economy.

Mounting Debt Burden:
Costa Mwaba, President of the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors, shed light on the gravity of the situation. Mopani Copper Mines has accrued arrears exceeding six months, with a debt exceeding $100 million owed to association members. Mwaba emphasizes the dire consequences faced by suppliers and contractors due to the prolonged non-payment, severely hampering their own financial obligations.

Similarly, KCM, despite making some efforts to address its liabilities, carries debts dating back to the days of Vedanta. The accumulated debt to suppliers and contractors stands at over $100 million, casting a shadow over the company’s financial future. Mwaba urges KCM to prioritize the settlement of these outstanding debts, providing much-needed relief to struggling suppliers and contractors.

Immediate Action and Long-term Solutions:
Mwaba made an urgent plea to Mopani Copper Mines, urging them to take immediate action by settling at least four months’ worth of debts in a lump sum payment. Such a move would offer respite to suppliers and contractors grappling with their own financial pressures. He further called on KCM to follow suit and address its outstanding debts, effectively clearing the slate.

Looking beyond short-term fixes, Mwaba stressed the importance of comprehensive, long-term solutions to address the crisis at hand. He highlighted the need for Mopani Copper Mines to explore alternative funding options, including seeking financial assistance from the market. By adopting a proactive approach, Mwaba argued that the company can alleviate immediate financial strain and secure a sustainable and prosperous future.

Wider Implications and Collaborative Efforts:
The repercussions of the mounting debts extend well beyond the mining industry. With suppliers and contractors struggling to fulfill their own obligations, local businesses are feeling the strain, further exacerbating an already challenging economic landscape. Mwaba emphasized the necessity for the Zambian government, industry stakeholders, and financial institutions to collaborate and devise holistic solutions that safeguard the livelihoods of those affected and restore stability to the mining sector.


  1. What do you expect when you put a western stooge as leader of zambia? A guy who is controlled by the west and was told by them to undervalue assets of his own nation during privatisation

  2. PF cadres are good at insulting and insulting is the true nature of PF and thats why they will never bounse back. How can a wise political party engage an ever insulting journalist? Even when you lose elections you don’t insult others as if you are a stray mad dog of the early stone age.

  3. Well, these are the things people wanted to see on those graphs. Mopani and KCM resolutions need decision at the presidents level. Can you imagine Vedanta that already owes suppliers from years back are the ones this government wants to bring back. The day Zambia will stop looking from outsiders and start managing her own resources that will be the day Zambia will develop. I do not see that day coming soon with the puppets we have today.

  4. Time Will come when things shall be right. Remember, from 1972 to 1990 the economy was in the hands of you Zambians, but did things go well? No! Everything moved from worse to worse each day. So kci things are easier to be said than done. With the habits of corruption and thievery acquired from the PF way of doing things, your good dream Kci can’t be attaino until after character transformation or great Born again exercise k

    • ZCCM collapsed because all monies realised from the sale of copper, cobalt and precious metals was hijacked by the government to feed the exchequer! Had 25% of copper sales been used for re-investment (the global norm at the time), ZCCM would have survived. In addition ZCCM was burdened with non-core businesses such as:
      Holiday lodges
      Public transport
      Mealie meal mills
      Travel agency
      Road haulage
      Sea transport
      Farm projects

  5. How long will it take this president to make a decision about he mines, does he think that America will come and decide what to do for Zambia.
    Zambia is not safe as their is no leadership to face our challenges , if this president kills the copper belt that will be the end of Zambia.
    But before elections they were shouting that bally will fix it but what has be fallen the bally people knew , are we saying this that this is failed project ! I rest my case don’t ask me again

  6. Mines are paying very well within a month. The only ones who are not getting their money are those who overinflated prices and those who didn’t supply according to specifications.

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