Robert Kamanga, the deputy Chief Executive Officer of China Non-Ferrous Metal Business (CNMCLuanshya )’s Copper Mines ( LCM), said his company is considering shutting down mine operations at its Baluba shaft in 2022.
Mr Kamanga claims that the LCM has exhausted all copper reserves at the mine, prompting the decision to halt mining operations by the end of next year, but that the firm is evaluating other options for both immediate and future mining operations.
Baluba mine is (CNMC) LCM’s largest employer in the district, employing over 3000 people whose employment are in jeopardy if the mine closes.
Mr Kamanga disclosed this when United Party for National Development (UPND) Luanshya Constituency Member of Parliament Lusale Simbao alongside his Independent Roan counterpart Joel Chibuye , engaged CLM Management to consider the re-opening of shaft 28 and the possible revitalization of the sports complex in a bid to create jobs and revive the district economy.
“ The company is undertaking explorative works and we will open up alternative mines before the closure of Baluba to an Open-Pit mine, very close to Baluba mines of which Mashiba mine is one of the possible mines to commence mining activities within this year or sometime next year and that should be able to accommodate some of our current workforce working at Baluba mines, “ said Mr Kamaga.
And Mr Chibuye said together with his fellow lawmaker was on a mission to see how best they could work together to revive the economy not only in Luanshya but the nation as a whole after shaft 28 re-opens.
“Our mission is to engage the mines as an investor to see how best we can work together to revive our economy through the reopening of shaft 28, the people of Roan are calling on LCM to open shaft 28, the information that the people hold in the community is that Shaft 28 is viable and can run up to 20 to 25 years meaning it would create jobs for the local people, hence our visit to engage the mines on that possibility and understand facts, ” Mr Chibuye said.
The lawmakers further observed that the re-opening of 28 Shaft would translate to the creation of jobs and contribute immensely to economic recovery.
But Mr Kamanga said while his management agree to the concerns raised by the duo, there was a need to deal with the matter carefully as shaft 28 was usually flooded.
“Yes we are aware that 28 shaft has copper ore that can be mined out, but we are treading very carefully and studying the environment as you are aware that Shaft 28 is flooded so we want to start with mining what is on top as an Open-Pit mine and once we exhaust it, we will backfill the open pits and that is when we can consider reopening 28 shafts, ” he said.
In response, the lawmakers jointly appealed to the LCM management not to lay off any workers but to instead expedite their studies and open up new mining sites to absorb the employees at the Baluba mine.
“ We don’t want them to lay off any employees let them quickly open Mushiba mine and expedite their studies and open Shaft 28 as well, my prayer as MP is that with all things being equal let them transfer the workforce to the new mines and that will help to transfer the current workforce to the new mines, ” Mr Chibuye in particular, noted.
Mr Chibuye further noted as indicated by President Hakainde Hichilema during his address during the official opening of parliament, the UPND Alliance administration was determined to see all Zambian citizens benefit from the mineral wealth.
“ In the case of Luanshya district, we can also benefit from the creation of jobs through the opening of Shaft 28, of course apart from the creation of manufacturing industries such as ZAMEFA, ” he said.
And Luanshya parliamentarian Lusale Simbao presented a partnership proposal for the rehabilitation and utilization of the Roan Antelope Recreation Center to LCM for consideration to spur the district economy and create jobs.
The document which was structured into an infrastructure rehabilitation proposal, sustainability proposal and a project funding model will see the revitalization of the dilapidated sports complex and allow the mines to run the sport as a business.
“You can agree with me that the absence of such amenities have resulted in various social concerns such as youth unemployment and lawlessness which we have witnessed in the recent past due to lack of employment and recreation among the youths, and adopting this route of taking sport as a business can create jobs through the utilization of non-skilled and semi-skilled contractors who will run the facilities on behalf of the mines” he explained.