Association of Mines Suppliers and Contractors (AMSC) president Augustine Mubanga says contractors are optimistic of getting their outstanding dues paid by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Plc as the mine gets back to full-scale operations.

In an interview, Mubanga said contractors and suppliers were optimistic about the prospect of improved business and faster liquidation of outstanding debts, as KCM’s operations were set to return to full operations.

“The (provisional) liquidator (Milingo Lungu) has been liquidating debt and anything that the liquidator incurred from May when the company was placed on liquidation he has been paying due diligence. Even when he has excess money, he has also been liquidating the debt that was incurred by Vedanta. There has been an upswing in production at three shafts in Konkola and they have opened operations at Nchanga Open Pit. The one that was closed by Vedanta was re-opened, and production is coming from there. Also, the smelter, which is shut down…once it comes online, there will be a lot of improvement in terms of payment,” said Mubanga.

“The hindrance, which was there is that, the smelter could not run up to 100 per cent capacity because it was scheduled for annual maintenance. But once it is done with maintenance, we expect that they will be more capacity to increase production. I cannot confirm as at now how much is remaining because there has been a lot of payment at every transaction. It is quite a lot; we need to sit down with the (provisional) liquidator and consolidate that amount. When we see that majority of our members have been paid and there are no issues, then we know that we are going in the right direction. You can even see that right now, KCM has done a good will and has a good standing with other major creditors who were in dispute at the time of Vedanta are now supplying.”

Last week, Mines Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga said that the provisional KCM liquidator, Milingo Lungu, had been providing information that mine creditors, suppliers and contractors were being paid their dues in a timely manner.