By SANFROSSA MANYINDA
CNMC Luanshya’s Copper Mines says it is considering shutting down mine operations at its Baluba shaft next year.
CNMC Luanshya Copper Mine Deputy Chief Executive Officer Robert Kamanga claims that the firm had exhausted all copper reserves at the mine, prompting the decision to halt mining operations by the end of next year.
But Mr Kamanga said the firm was evaluating other options for both immediate and future mining operations.
Baluba mine is (CNMC) LCM’s largest employer in the district, employing over 3, 000 people whose employment is in jeopardy if the mine closes.
“The company is undertaking explorative works and 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,” Mr Kamanga said.
And Roan Member of Parliament Joel Chibuye said the mission was to engage the mines as an investor to see how best it could work together with the government to revive the economy through the reopening of Shaft 28.
Mr Chibuye said the people of Roan were calling on LCM to open Shaft 28 because the information that the people held in the community was that it was viable and could run up to 20 to 25 years.
He said this meant that the firm would create jobs for the local people, hence the engagement with the mines.
He also observed that the re-opening of Shaft 28 would translate to the creation of jobs and contribute immensely to economic recovery.
But Mr Kamanga said while the management agreed to the concerns raised, there was a need to deal with the matter carefully as shaft 28 was usually flooded.
“We are aware that Shaft 28 has copper ore that can be mined out, but we are treading very carefully and studying the environment, as you are aware, the shaft 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 Shaft 28,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Chibuye 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.