Mopani Copper Mines Plc (MCM) placed the mines in Mufulira and Kitwe on care and Maintenance on 6th April 2020. As you may know the Zambian Government did not accept the decision of the company but engaged in discussions with Mopani that have yielded the following:
a. Mopani has agreed to resume operations;
b. The welfare of all workers is secured. This includes all directly employed workers (Management and Unionised) and those engaged by contractors.
c. Government will continue to engage in dialogue with Mopani in the next 90 days with a view to finding long-term solutions for the Company.
d. Mopani will issue a fresh notice of 90 days indicating an intention to place the mines on care and maintenance.
Government would like to assure the Miners and the citizenry at large that the pro-poor government of His Excellency the President, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, will not neglect the workers. He has personally been concerned that this matter be amicably resolved because the workers cannot be neglected nor abandoned.
Government is alive to the plight of the miners, contractors and citizens in these communities hence the determination of his Excellency the President to ensure that the livelihoods of the people are secured.
In terms of the next steps, As you heard Mopani has already announced that they are resuming mining operations. The Government will engage in constructive dialogue with Mopani to understand the challenges the company is facing and also look at the sustainable solutions going forward.
In addition, Government will continue to promote open dialogue to promote the mining industry in this critical period of COVID 19 and unstable commodity prices. Government will continue to create a conducive investment climate which, promotes sustainability and encourages growth in mine development through reduced costs of production by encouraging local contractors and local skilled personnel to play a pivotal role anchored on Mine Occupational Safety and Health.
A Multi-sectoral team will work with Mopani to critically analyse the entire mine value chain to structure a survival plan to inform government in terms of the way forward in order to avoid the unfortunate situation the company and our people found themselves in. The Multi-sectoral team will involve experts in human Resource management, Engineering, Procurement, accountants, business re-engineering professionals and taxation.
The Government is grateful for the patience exercised by the Workers, their representatives and contractors in the past 3 weeks over this highly emotive issue. For now it is important that all workers remain calm and follow the instructions of the Mopani management.
Government remains positive that a long-term solution shall be found for Mopani to continue mining with a view to supporting the socio-economic status of the Copperbelt Province.
Hon. Richard Musukwa, MP
Minister of Mines and Minerals Development
3rd April 2020