KCM plans to lay off more miners-MUZ

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is planning to shed off more workers despite having laid off hundreds last year, the Mine Union of Zambia (MUZ) has revealed. But Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma has said Government would not allow KCM or any other mining company to lay off workers without giving proper reasons for the action. MUZ president Nkole Chishimba said his union was deeply saddened that some mining companies like KCM could still think of laying off workers after it had shed off thousands of workers last year. Mr Chishimba, who is Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, was speaking yesterday at Shebourne Hotel in Kitwe when MUZ invited Mr Yaluma to discuss the challenges facing the mining industry. “What we are worried about are the fraudulent declarations that our mineral resources are exhausted or that they are not economically viable. We need to question certain aspects concerning mining activities and provide recommendations. ‘‘Privatization was meant to invest and grow, maintain and grow labour, but we are deeply concerned to receive very reliable information that KCM wants to shed off more workers despite having done so last year,” Mr Chishimba said. He said investors should concentrate on mining the ore deposit and  ensuring that the welfare of the miners was safeguarded but it was annoying that some mining owners who had bought the mines had abandoned mining activities and had turned their premises into processing plants. Mr Chishimba said KCM Plc had pledged to be producing 200,000 tonnes of copper per annum but it had never achieved its  target. “KCM does not do actual mining but is reclaiming ore from the waste dumps. Copper mining is a business of volumes to offset unit costs. KCM has been urged to do business improvement plan, which they have not. We insist that they produce a business plan,” he said. “When an investor buys a mine, the core business is mining and they mine the ore deposits using Zambia’s human capital. Business plans are presented so that the best bidder is awarded. One of the important parts of the business plan is investment itself. ‘‘Once an investor is awarded, Government’s obligation is to monitor whether there is development or not. “We have seen CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines plc put Baluba on care and maintenance and put its workers on forced leave. Most of these mining companies are doing things without following the procedure and the business plan,” Mr Chishimba said. Mr Yaluma said Government had committed itself to closely monitor the operations of the mining companies to ensure that they adhered to their obligations. He urged mining companies which had put their plants on care and maintenance to resume operations soon because most of them had the ability to do so. “Last year mining companies retrenched their workers because of the challenges they were facing, but this time Government will not allow such a thing to happen,” Mr Yaluma said


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