By ROGERS KALERO
SCORES of miners yesterday marched to Mopani Copper Mines general offices in Kitwe to protest over the company’s intention to place the giant mine under care and maintenance.
The irate miners, who carried placards and sang songs, denounced management for suggesting drastic decisions under the guise of avoiding the spread of Corona virus.
Wusakile Member of Parliament , Pavyuma Kalobo, later arrived at the general offices in Nkana West, much to the delight of the protesters.
The miners demanded that Mopani must surrender the assets in Kitwe and Mufulira, instead of putting the mine on care and maintenance.
Mr Kalobo stormed Mopani general offices to meet management in the company of union officials.
He refused to meet management officials alone and insisted that the union leadership should be present too.
“The Mopani management wanted to meet me alone, but I have refused. If every thing goes as planned, we will meet them with union leaders, some Members of Parli and the District Commissioner, ” Mr Kalobo said.
Earlier, the placard-carrying miners denounced Mopani management and demanded that the mining company should pay them their dues.
Some of the placards read ‘Mopani must go’ as the miners thronged the usually serene general offices opposite Sino-Sam Friendly Hospital.
Meanwhile, MUZ president Joseph Cheer charged that Glencore, the majority shareholder in Mopani, has no money and wanted to use Covid-19 as a scape goat to put the mine on care and maintenance.
Mr Chewe has since urged the miners to be united and alert so that they do not lose out.
He was addressing the protesting miners.
“It is nonsense for Mopani to put the mine on care and maintenance because of the covid 19. The funders of Mopani have no money to run the mine and want to use covid-19 as a scapegoat
“As a union, we will not entertain this and we are planning to meet all our members at Katilungu House so that we chart the way forward.
This is why I am urging our members to remain united, strong and alerts. If we are not alert, we may lose out,” Mr chewe said
He said he was shocked that Mopani was doing things in a haphazard manner without formal communication to the union. He said Mopani decided to start giving out letters to the workers without informing the union, a clear indication that management had no good intentions. “We just woke up to find that members have been given letters without being informed us as a union,” he said
And National Union of Miners and Allied Workers president James Chansa said Mopani was using the tricks which Konkola Copper Mine investors used, but were flushed out
Mr Chansa said investors in the mining industry should not make Zambians dance to their tune, but should have courtesy.
By ROGERS KALERO