ZCCM-IH, an investment firm, has announced that it has chosen to outsource the strategic review and determination of Mopani Copper Mines – MCM to a South African unit of Rothschild & Co (another investment firm).
When mining expert Edward Simukonda challenged the investment company (ZCCM-IH) and the Industrial Development Corporation – IDC to find the $300 million needed to return the Kitwe and Mufulira Mopani Copper Mines to full production without waiting for foreign equity partners, he may have started the ball rolling.
The Mining expert challenged ZCCM IH that the $300 million confirmed the required amount to return the large-scale copper miner to full production and start contributing to forex revenue generation for the country is not so much money that it is the stretch mark for them to fail to add that ZCCM and IDC have the capacity to source that funding.
IDC and ZCCM IH have a combined huge balance sheet running in billions of dollars that could be leveraged to timely source the required funds and get the mine to full production. The investment company has been accused of deliberately delaying the re-investment program to facilitate the turning over of the mine from the local management team in preference to targeted foreign equity partners.
And according to a statement made available to ZBT, ZCCM-IH has laid out a longer timeline than the three months deal timelines synonymous with similar deals. ZCCM-IH which currently has no substantive CEO and is being guided by board chairperson Dorika Banda has stated that the process is expected to be concluded within a period of six to twelve months, during which time Rothschild & Co’s involvement will not disrupt any business operations at the mine.
The statement from ZCCM IH did not state the fees that would be paid to Rothschilds for these services and whether these are capped since the timelines are much longer.
The new Dorika Banda led board have shown little ambition to locally run and manage both Mopani and KCM opting to initiate moves that would require the partnership or turning over the mines to foreign firms as equity partners. ZCCM IH has not stated if they are unable to raise the required funds.