Zambia: Chamber cautions mine owners


THE Chamber of Mines has appealed to mine owners to exercise caution before making final decisions on future operations of their mines even in the face of the global financial recession which has affected the mining sector globally.

Chamber of Mines president, Nathan Chishimba, said in an interview yesterday that it would be beneficial for both mine owners and Government to exercise maximum restraint when making decisions that would affect the operations of the mines.

He also appealed to Government to consider talks with mine owners about the future prospects of mines in Zambia following the drop in metal prices globally.

Mr Chishimba said there was need for mine owners and Government to make productive decisions for the mines to continue operating.

This is a very difficult period for the mining sector not only in Zambia but globally, Mr Chishimba said.

And Mr Chishimba said there was need for Government and Glencore to meet and discuss comprehensively on the way forward before implementing the directives by Government that Glencore should surrender assets of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) in Mufulira and Nkana Copper Mines in Kitwe.

Government last week ordered Glencore to surrender the assets following the decision by the investor to suspend operations at the two mines and place them under care and maintenance until copper prices returned to US$5,500 per tonne.

That matter can nicely be handled by the owners of the assets but as a chamber, we can only advise that the two parties should sit down and discuss the matter comprehensively on the way forward, Mr Chishimba said.

And Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Maxwell Mwale, says systems have been put in place to ensure that assets of Mopani Copper Mine (MCM) in Mufulira and Nkana Copper Mines are secured to prevent asset stripping.

Mr Mwale said in an interview yesterday that other than the measures that had been put in place, it was not possible for Glencore – the owners of the mines – to flee the country because there were a number of legal procedures that were in place.

He assured Zambians that assets were safe and that Government was now waiting for Glencore to hand them over at an appropriate time.

Glencore is a Swiss company which operates the two mines as a joint venture with First Quantum Minerals of Canada, which also owns Kansanshi Mines in Solwezi.

Mr Mwale at a press briefing last Friday ordered Glencore to surrender assets of the MCM and Nkana to ensure continued operations and avoid further job losses in the mining industry.

We have put systems in place to ensure that assets of MCM and Nkana are secured. The same systems will apply to any other mining company that will in future write to us with intentions of putting their assets under care and maintenance. I can assure you that the assets are safe, he said.

Mr Mwale said the legal procedures to be followed in such a situation were many and that all of them had to be met before any investor could be allowed to leave.

Zambia Daily Mail

Post published in: Economy

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