Govt warns LCM over shut of Baluba Mine


IT is illegal for Luanshya Copper Mines to suspend operations without consulting Government as required by the law, says information minister Chishimba Kambwili.

Mr Kambwili said President Edgar Lungu will not allow mines to shut down anyhow and throw people on the streets.

The minister further said that Government will treat intentions to suspend the 73.1 per cent shareholding in Mopani Copper Mines by Glencore as rumours because the mining giant has not communicated its intentions to relevant authorities officially.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Kambwili said it was illegal for Luanshya Copper Mines to put the company on maintenance without meeting Government to map out the way forward.

He said LCM had breached the mines and mineral Act by acting in the manner they did and therefore, Government had directed the director of mines in the ministry of mines to inform the company that it was not possible to act in the manner it did.

He said that the PF Government was also aware that enemies of the State and President Lungu in particular, wanted to use the closure of mines and load shedding to attack the President, but warned that Government would not allow any loss of jobs in the mines.

Mr. Kambwili said Glencore was just one of the shareholders in Mopani and if they pulled out, the remaining shareholders should find someone to partner with.

He said Glencore had not yet communicated to Government over its intentions to pull out or suspend its operations at Mopani Copper Mines and therefore, the PF Government would still treat the matter as just rumours.

“We have no position as Government because they have not communicated to us. For now we shall treat that as rumours. We cannot put things in place on that aspect. Besides Glencore is just one of the shareholders in Mopani. So the other shareholders need to find someone to buy the shares,” said Mr. Kambwili.

And Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Nkole Chishimba said he expected objective and progressive ideas during its discussions with Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) over intentions by Glencore to suspend operations at the mining company.

The MUZ chief was reacting to intentions by Glencore which owns MCM in Zambia and Katanga Mine Kolwezi in the DR Congo to suspend operations from the two mines, a move which will result in the removal of 400,000 tonnes of Copper from the market.

Mr Chishimba, who is Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) president, said the union had held a series of meetings with the management at Mopani where it was told about the intentions of Glencore to suspend operations.

And on Baluba Mine, Mr Chishimba said he was impressed that Mr Kambwili had intervened in the matter where the management at the company had  decided to place the company on care and maintenance putting the jobs of more than 1,500 on hold.

But MCM public relations manager Cephas Sinyangwe said Mopani was undertaking a study to optimize operations as well as capital expenditure in the current financial climate.


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