President Edgar Lungu has advised Glencore, the owners of Mopani Copper Mine, to hand over the mine to the Government if they have failed to run it.
And President Lungu has said owners of Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) have assured him that workers at the mine will not be laid off.
Mr Lungu said Government would not allow Glencore to close operations at Mopani mine and lay off workers just because of the current challenges in the sector.
President Lungu said mines always generated huge profits when the copper prices were high but wondered why they should rush into closing and laying off workers when things are tough.
He said this when he addressed a public rally at Shinde Stadium in Mufulira on Monday.
President Lungu also said Government would not allow Anglo American Corporation to take over any of the old mines in the country.
He said Anglo America Corporation should consider setting up their own mines which they abandoned when times were rough in the sector. And President Lungu said he had a meeting with the owners of Luanshya Copper Mine who assured him that the workers at the mine would not be laid off, but would be sent home until the mine resumed its full operations.
He said he also visited Non-Ferrous Mining Company of Africa (NFCA) in Chambishi so that he could get to know the challenges the company was facing.
“We had a meeting with the owners of NFCA who are the same owners of LCM and they have assured me that miners at LCM will not be laid off, but would be sent home until when the mine resumes its full operation.
During this time, miners would be paid some money to help meet their needs,” President Lungu said.
He said there was no need to panic and instructed Roan Member of Parliament (MP) Chishimba Kambwili and Government leaders to explain the situation to the miners. He warned investors in the mining sector to desist from making arbitrary decisions, but always follow the law and engage stakeholders such as unions when and if they decided to lay off workers.
“So please desist from doing things with impunity and we will also not do things with impunity. We are partners who are seeking a win-win situation,” he said.
And NFCA chief executive officer Wang Chunlai said his company was facing challenges of low copper price on the world market and the power restrictions by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC).
He, however, said his company was hopeful that it would overcome the challenges and continue expanding as evidenced by the South-East Ore Body (SEOB).
“We will overcome our challenges and continue to expand as you can see we have the SEOB. Apart from expanding, we will also continue to plough back in the community,” Mr Wang said.