THE current state of the mining sector in Zambia is perilous, thereby calling for urgent attention in order to sustain existing operations and avert continuation of the current spate of suspensions and loss of jobs, says Zambia Chambers of Mines communication manager Talent Ng’andwe.
Mr Ng’andwe observed that the focus on mining in the recently announced 2016 national budget was generally inadequate and at odds with the need to apply urgent and decisive restorative measures to the industry.
He said the chamber welcomed the recent efforts by the Government to work collaboratively with the mining industry in addressing the current challenges revolving around recent events in the industry, namely suspension of operations, job losses and the energy deficit.
Mr Ng’andwe said the chamber acknowledged the importance of joint said efforts with the Government to ensure that current challenges were overcome, if not eliminated, in the not too distant future.
It is very clear that without such joint ownership, the task of redressing these challenges will be made even more difficult. The current state of the mining sector in Zambia is grave, if not perilous, which calls for urgent attention in order to sustain existing operations,” he said.
Mr Ng’andwe explained that in the current environment, the mining industry was faced with a global downturn that draws ominous parallels with the trend last seen in 2008, when prices of commodities on the international markets experienced a severe downturn.
“In the normal course of business, this has represented a challenge. In a period of declining commodity prices, this challenge represents a considerable obstacle to the viability of several operations in the country, as is currently being experienced,” he said.
He said the chamber reiterated its support for constructive, effective and urgent dialogue with the Government and other partners to resolve the current state of the industry in Zambia.
“We fully support the ongoing effort by the Government of Zambia to engage with the mining operations in Zambia to achieve this, and we remain committed to the process started by Government to discuss urgent solutions to avert the ongoing crisis, which if not managed resolutely and urgently will result in continued job losses and loss of business within the mining sector and related industries,” he explained.
Mr Ng’andwe said the Chamber was looking forward to working with the Government of Zambia and ministries that have been tasked to address the various challenges facing the industry in a decisive and inclusive manner.