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New Investor to run KCM must Prioritise the interest of local people

Chingola District Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the government must ensure that the next investor to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) prioritises the interest of local people.

Chamber President Freddie Musonda said the government should find an investor who will have the interest of Zambians when running KCM which has operations in Chingola, Chililabombwe and Nampundwe.

Mr. Musonda said the local community must be involved in the signing of license agreement with the investor in KCM especially on corporate social responsibility.

He said local contractors and suppliers equally want an investor who will be giving them jobs at KCM.

Mr. Musonda acknowledged that KCM needs urgent recapitalisation to return to full capacity as a copper mining firm.

He disclosed that currently mining infrastructure at KCM is rundown a situation he said was negatively affecting efficient copper production at the mine plants.

“Our interest when we hear what is going on that there must be a fresh investor to recapitalise the mines. We have seen the state of the mines now. Mine plants are run down, capacity for a plant to run efficiently is not there. The mine needs recapitalisation and this of course is an opportunity for us contractors and suppliers when there is a need on the plant. The problem for the management that is operating Konkola Copper Mines is that they need fresh capital for them to recapitalise the mines and also restore the capacity on the plant for them to produce copper,” Mr. Musonda said.

“So we are saying when the government makes a decision now on who should be the investor that is taking over the mines. We want as contractors, the community to be involved in the license agreement especially on the corporate social responsibility. As stakeholders we want to see that our interest is looked at. It must be enshrined in the license agreement on things we expect to see as stakeholders. We want to have a good share of jobs that are available to us. We want to see that this investor will be able to pay us on time for jobs done,” he said.

Mr. Musonda recalled that in the past KCM used to put local contractors and suppliers in problems by failing to pay them on time.

“We want to see that we eliminate the problem where contractors where left with overflow of arrears that accumulated from not being paid. We want that the situation that arose because contractors could not pay NAPS, ZRA on time. This problem was not coming from the contractors and suppliers, this was generated by KCM,” Mr. Musonda said.

Indian investor Vedanta Mineral Resource has reportedly expressed interest to return to KCM.

Vedanta which used to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), recently said that it is committed to investing a USD 1 billion towards capital mine development and other infrastructure to increase KCM’s integrated production.

In a letter addressed to Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe, the Group CEO, Sunil Duggal said further said upon return Vedanta shall implement a salary increase across the board.

In November, 2020, a Zambian court ordered a halt to liquidation proceedings for Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to allow owners Vedanta and ZCCM-IH to proceed to arbitration, the provisional liquidator said in a statement.