President Hakainde Hichilema has disclosed plans to bring Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) back to full production.
Speaking during a media briefing at State House yesterday, President Hichilema stated that government is determined to bring Mopani back to life.
Mr Hichilema however described the revival of KCM as complicated citing the appointment of Provisional Liquidator Milingo Lungu by the previous administration adding that such a situation should never have taken place.
He however stressed that no court processes will stop the government from resolving the matter.
He said the government will use the Public-Private Dialogue Forum for Development to address issues concerning the two mining firms.
“In this Public-Private Dialogue Forum for development, we are putting KCM and Mopani as workstreams. We have already been putting in a lot of measures. That’s why you hear the noise on the liquidator at KCM because he was sitting in the way of resolving the KCM problems. The rest I won’t say much but KCM, Mopani, to unlock them. Mopani we are very close,” he said.
Mr Hichilema also said that Kasenseli Gold Mine and First Quantum Minerals are additional mines whose issues will be resolved through the Public-Private Dialogue Forum for development.
“We are putting First Quantum in there (in the workstream) because we have to unlock the 1.5 billion dollar investment in there. We have to unlock Kasenseli,” he said.
The President further dismissed some social media reports suggesting that government wants to hand back KCM to Vedanta Resources, stating that such reports are falsehoods
He said once the mines are back in operation, the people on the Copperbelt and Zambians at large will benefit.
Mr Hichilema explained that the mines will bring revenue into the country as well as foreign exchange and vowed that his administration will never allow illegal mining in the country.
He admitted that it was a mistake for the government to allow illegal mining in Mumbwa where three people died in a mining accident in February this year.
Mr Hichilema also encouraged small scale miners to apply for licenses so that they can mine in a legitimate way.
“This government made a mistake to allow illegal mining to continue in Mumbwa until people died. I accept that mistake on behalf of the government. We should not encourage that to happen anymore. Get your license, that’s why we have shut the license office cadastral at mines to reorganize it for the people of Zambia so that licenses are given to the Zambian licenses,” he said.
Mopani is currently on care and maintenance while KCM is in liquidation.