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UNION BACKS HOMEGROWN MANAGEMENT OF MINES

By ROGERS KALERO

GOVERNMENT must give Zambians hope and confidence that they can run their own mines as opposed to believing  that only foreign investors can run the mining industry,  the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) has said

NUMAW National Treasurer Saul Simujika said government should lead the way in encouraging Zambians that they can run the mines profitably and so they should be ready to take over the running of the mines in the country from some foreign investors

Mr Simujika was reacting to a statement from Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Sakanya that the giant mining company was a national asset which the government must nurture, safeguard and use it as a model to other mining companies in Zambia

Mr Sakanya  also told Copperbelt Minister Elisha Matambo, last week during a meeting at MCM board room that Zambia will only be developed by Zambians

In response to Mr Sakanya, Mr Simujika said the union was in full support of the Mopani Chief, adding that the unions and the country at large had learnt bitter lessons from the conduct of the foreign investors in the mining industry

He said the conduct of foreign investors like Glencore PLC which almost left thousands workers in the cold after it decided to place the giant mine on care and maintenance until government intervened was one of the bitter lessons learnt from foreign investors

“So because of the conduct of some foreign investors like Glencore PLC and others, as Zambians, we need to learn a lesson and start preparing ourselves to run the mines. We have people who can run the mines and so far, Mr Sakanya and his team have performed well at MCM.

“So let us see how we will move at MCM under the management of Zambians, if we succeed, then we can move to other mines. We will use MCM as a model like Mr Sakanya said. Let us nurture, safeguard and use it as a model to other mining companies in Zambia,’’ Mr Simujika said

Mr Simujika said, while it was true that foreign investors bring in capital in the mining companies, ,most of the profits from the mine industry was used to develop their own countries leaving majority of Zambians eating crumbs and wallowing in poverty

He said Mr Sakanya and his team at MCM had worked hard to bring the giant mining company to where it was today after Glencore PLC had announced its intention to place the mine on care and maintenance

“MCM was like stone rolling to a stop, but Mr Sakanya and his team which included the general workers worked hard to bring the giant mining company to life.  I can say Mr Sakanya and his team have proved their ability to deliver when it mattered most

“While it is true that foreign investors bring in capital in the mining companies, ,most of the profits from the mine industry was used to develop their own countries leaving majority of Zambians eating crumbs and wallowing in poverty,’’ he said

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