Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe has urged companies which supply copper concentrates to Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to resume business with the mine. Mr Mwakalombe yesterday held a meeting with management at KCM where he was assured that the smelter is operating effectively and is not affected by the contaminated diesel.
“Those who supply the mine with copper concentrates should enter into an agreement with it (mine) and start doing business. The smelter is ok and operating well,” Mr Mwakalombe said. The minister said the mine has a spare key for the software which was stolen but that investigations over the theft are ongoing. Police in Chingola have arrested an employee at KCM in connection with the theft of a software key which is used to activate operations at Nchanga smelter. Mr Mwakalombe said the provisional liquidator and management have a good working relationship and are working as a team to improve operations at the mine.
“KCM is not all about India and Zambia, it’s about mining. All the managers are working well with the provisional liquidator,” Mr Mwakalombe said. He added that the ban on scrap metal dealing at KCM is still enforce, a measure meant to avoid stripping of assets at the mine. “The ban on scrap metal dealing was a directive from President Edgar Lungu and it still stands,” he said. Mr Mwakalombe said Government will ensure all assets at KCM are secured. And Mr Mwakalombe said there is need to diversify the economy on the Copperbelt to reduce dependency on mining. He said the province has huge potential in agriculture, tourism and forestry.
The minister urged stakeholders in the mining sector to participate at the Copperbelt Investment and Tourism Exposition slated for this month end, to explore investment opportunities. Mr Mwakalombe was speaking yesterday when Mopani Copper Mines presented a cheque for K100,000 towards the expo. And presenting the cheque, MCM chief executive officer Chris Vermeulen said despite the financial challenges mines are currently facing, it cardinal for them to participate in organising the expo.