… negative statements may greatly affect Zambia’s FDI
By Nation Reporter
Ground Focus Ltd (GFL), Zambia’s single largest local investor in the mines has strongly cautioned the politicians to desist from issuing negative and careless statements regarding the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the mining sector.
The company chief executive officer Jimmy Mubashi said some statements that had been issued recently either by the opposition or ruling political parties were worrying and could cause panic and distress among the transnational mining conglomerates in Zambia.
“We are not politicians ourselves and our company has a non-partisan approach and policy, but we are deeply concerned with the statements from politicians that can be deemed to be a direct attack on the calibre of the current foreign investors,” said Mr Mubashi.
Mr Mubashi said some politicians on the campaign trails had issued statements, castigating the current investors and even went to an extent of telling the people that they would bring back the Anglo-American that ran away in 2003-2005 when copper prices went down.
He said despite the shortcomings, the current investors in the large scale mining on the Copperbelt to the North-Western Province respectively had endured a very difficult period of low commodity prices on the international markets and none of them had pulled out their investments but opted to stay on.
Some even embarked on capital projects aimed at revamping the operations in the mining sector.
Mr Mubashi said politicians should be careful with their statements during the campaign period before they scared away investors in the mining sector and the comments about Anglo-America coming back to Zambia was unrealistic.
“Such statements are highly irresponsible and misleading because those investors (Anglo American) ran away from Zambia when we needed them most until the then Republican President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa found new investors, among them Vedanta Resources of India that invested in Konkola Copper Mines Plc in Chingola, Chililabombwe and Nampundwe.
“As a nation, our memories are still fresh on the mayhem and panic that Anglo-American created when they pulled out of KCM. Therefore, there is no morality in anybody suggesting the return of the mining multi-national called Anglo-American which abandoned us when we desperately needed investment to keep our mine afloat at that particular time,” he said.
He said, as a nation, there was need to give credit where it was due regardless of one’s political affiliation because mining firms like Mopani Copper Mines had pumped in US$ 1.1 billion into the expansion projects in Zambia.
Mr Mubashi told the Daily Nation in Kitwe that with the current huge investments in the sector, Mopani Copper Mines had invested massively into technology especially at their training Centre in Mufulira to allow local Zambian students to learn practical mining skills without necessarily going underground.