…Min­is­ter threat­ens to re­voke li­cence if firm fails to re­vamp ops

Daily Nation Newspaper - - Front Page - By SILUMESI MALUMO

Govt would soon take ac­tion on the sale of Lumwana gold mines. — Richard Musukwa

GOV­ERN­MENT will re­voke the min­ing li­cence for Konkola Cop­per Mines (KCM) if it fails to re­vamp stalled op­er­a­tions, Min­is­ter of Mines and Min­eral De­vel­op­ment Richard Musukwa has warned.

And Mr Musukwa said Gov­ern­ment would soon take ac­tion on the sale of Lumwana gold mines.

Re­act­ing to sen­ti­ments by KCM man­age­ment that it has de­cided to shut some op­er­a­tions due to the un­avail­abil­ity of cop­per con­cen­trates which are im­ported from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries due to the new tax regime, Mr Musukwa told the Daily Na­tion in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day that Gov­ern­ment was run­ning out of pa­tience with KCM and it would not hes­i­tate to re­voke the li­cence.

“I think as gov­ern­ment we are run­ning out of pa­tience with KCM. We have heard a lot of sto­ries from them and now they have de­cided to halt op­er­a­tions, I think this is too much, we shall just take ac­tion by re­vok­ing the li­cence.

“It’s the same that hap­pens when a per­son buys land from the Min­istry of Lands and fails to de­velop it, the Min­istry will get that land and this is ex­actly what will hap­pen with KCM,’’ Mr Musukwa said.

Mr Musukwa said the min­ing firm could not build a smelter that was de­pen­dent on im­ported con­cen­trates but should in­vest in de­vel­op­ment to sus­tain the op­er­a­tions.

He ad­vised KCM against depend­ing on VAT re­funds for its op­er­a­tions but that the com­pany should in­stead mo­bilise re­sources for it to make a tan­gi­ble dif­fer­ence in the min­ing sec­tor.

The min­is­ter said KCM had failed lamentably to run the mine even be­fore the new tax regime was in­tro­duced.

The min­is­ter said if KCM man­age­ment of­fi­cials were se­ri­ous, they should con­cen­trate on de­vel­op­ing the Konkola Deep Min­ing Pro­ject (KDMP) and the Nchanga Mine to in­crease pro­duc­tion.

"KCM should be the last min­ing com­pany to talk about the newly-pro­posed min­ing tax be­cause even be­fore the tax was in­tro­duced they have al­ways had prob­lems.

If any­thing, KCM must be se­ri­ous and demon­strate why they are still around in Zam­bia,'' he said.

“I want to re­peat that our pa­tience is run­ning out with KCM, it must look for re­sources to in­vest in its op­er­a­tions be­cause if noth­ing will be done we shall take stiff ac­tion,” Mr Musukwa said.

And Mr Musukwa said Gov­ern­ment would soon in­form the na­tion over the sale of Lumwana gold mines.

Mr Musukwa said gov­ern­ment would not re­main quiet over the sale of the mine by First Quan­tum Min­er­als.

Mean­while Mr Musukwa also said min­ing com­pa­nies should not use the newly-pro­posed min­ing tax as an ex­cuse to give their work­ers mea­gre salary in­cre­ments dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions. Mr Musukwa said min­ers needed de­cent con­di­tions of ser­vices that would mo­ti­vate them to work harder.

Richard Musukwa

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