By SILUMESI MALUMO
GOVERNMENT has resolved to provide a stimulus package to Mopani and other mining houses to ensure sustainable operations, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Richard Musukwa has.
And Mr Musukwa said government and Mopani held a high level meeting to resolve the challenges facing the mining firm.
Mr Musukwa said government was always available to provide assistance to ensure that the operations continue running.
He said in interview yesterday, government wanted the mines to continue operating because the sector was the backbone of the country.
The minister said the mining sector still remained the major contributor to the country’s economy hence need to continue operating even when they were challenges being faced.
“Government is urging mine workers stakeholders, suppliers and contractors to remain calm as we navigate over this critical period to secure jobs for our people and create sustainable future in the mining sector by promoting mine development that takes into account the critical component of the means of production which is the human capital.
Government appreciates the challenge the mining sector is going through in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic and is open to provide relief to the industry across the board and bridge the gap with mining houses and our call is for open sincere and candid discourse which promotes honest partnership.
“The challenge Mopani has largely to deal with foreign contract management which has grounded the company in terms of operating costs as compared to the locals who are paid paltry salaries. That’s why government has not supported the optimization programme which Mopani embarked on which basically was a conduit to make the mine unsustainable and put Zambian contractors in the streets.
We will use this opportunity to ensure world best practices which promote locals is the basis of reducing the operating costs of Mopani and that experiments will not be accepted,” Mr Musukwa said.
Meanwhile Mr Musukwa said government and Mopani would hold another high level meeting to resolve the challenges.
He also said Mopani must recall all workers who were sent on force leave so that operations resume in Kitwe and Mufulira mines.
By SILUMESI MALUMO