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Unresolved Mopani/KCM negotiations raises concerns

Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba

Green Party President Peter Sinkamba says it is understandable that government could not announce the conclusion of the Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines negotiations because the issues involved are complex.

Speaking in an interview in Kitwe  after the Mines Minister’s press briefing in Lusaka on the two mines future, Mr. Sinkamba said the issues around the two mines cannot be done hurriedly because of the complex issues surrounding the negotiations.

On Monday July 31, 2023, Mines Minister told Journalists in Lusaka at a press briefing that he could not announce the final decision on Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines as he promised early this month because the negotiations have not been concluded.

Mr. Kabuswe however promised to be giving the national frequent updates on the progress.

Mr. Sinkamba said government should be given ample time to resolve the issues in a manner that will ensure a good final deal for Zambians.

“It is understandable that the Minister could not announce the final decision on the two mines today because the issues involved are complex, there are issues of the accrued debt that happened during the PF time and during the UPND time, the deterioration of the assets, and also some assets have been sold, so it is a complex matter,” said Mr Sinkamba.

He, however, urged government to find a way of resolving the issues as soon as possible as the people on the Copperbelt are depressed economically and socially because of the poor performance of the two mines.

He further disclosed that there are planned public protests slated for August 31 in Chingola and Chililabombwe if the issue is not resolved before that date, which he said government should curtail by resolving the issue soon.

And Kitwe Chamber of Commerce Emmanuel Mbambiko said it was disappointing to hear that government has failed to announce the conclusion on the issue of the two mines once again.

Mr. Mbambiko said government needs to make a decision on the issue.

“I am speechless, I don’t know what to say, I feel it’s now an issue of decision making which government needs to take, you cannot remain undecided forever,” he said.

And National Union of Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW) President Saul Simujika appealed to mine workers to remain calm as government continues the process of resolving issues around the two mines.