Zambia: Govt to take over Mopani

By Anthony Mulowa

THE Government is ready to take over the running of Mopani Copper Mines in Mufulira following the notice that it will cease operations next month.

Mines and Minerals Development Minister, Maxwell Mwale told Parliament yesterday that the Government did not want to have a situation where more employees were laid off in the mining sector.

He appealed to MCM to revisit its plan to close the mine in Mufulira and assured Zambians that if the mine management went ahead to close the mine, the Government was ready to take it over.

Mines and Minerals Development Deputy Minister, Boniface Nkhata told the House that MCM had indicated to the Government that it would close on April 14 this year.

Yes they have indicated that they will close. The company has, however, not effectively communicated to the ministry, he said in response to a question by Chipili MP Davies Mwila (PF) who wanted to know whether the MCM had plans to close the mine in Mufulira.

And Mr Mwale told Parliament that mine managements that wanted to place the mines on care and maintenance programmes should immediately surrender them to Government so that other investors could take over.

We (the Government) would not like to see more job losses. If they want to place the mines on care and maintenance they should surrender them to the Government, he said.

The minister was responding to Mr Mwila's follow up question on what measures the Government had put in place to protect the mine and the employees in Mufulira.

Mr Mwale said the investors were fully aware of the implications that the closure of the mines would cause.

He said Zambians should have faith in the Government saying it would do everything possible to protect the interests of the citizens.

Mr Mwale was responding to another follow up question by Zambezi West MP Charles Kakoma (UPND) who asked about the options the Government had available in an event that some mine investors refused to surrender the mines.

Mr Mwale said the law under the Mines and Minerals Act was clear on how the Government would proceed in the takeovers.

Ndola Central MP Mark Mushili (PF), however, wondered why when it came to the privatization of the mines, Zambians were not considered.

Mr Mwale said Zambians with potential to invest in the sector were welcome saying that the private sector partnership was cardinal.

Times of Zambia

Post published in: Economy

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