MINISTRY of Mines permanent secretary Barnaby Mulenga says the liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) needs to be expedited so that the company can start making profits than having huge liabilities it is currently sitting on.
And Mulenga says the government will not allow KCM to flood due to Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC)’s power supply restriction to the mine.
KCM, which has been placed under provisional liquidation, is owing Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), a private power distributor, about US$132 million, said to be 11 months’ worth of power supply.
This huge debt prompted CEC to issue a power supply restriction order whose execution has since been blocked after KCM obtained an injunction, Wednesday.
In an interview, Mulenga disclosed that discussions were currently ongoing to help the mine settle its liabilities, adding that government will not allow the go down.
“First, in terms of just government and KCM, yes that matter was brought to our attention and there are discussions going on within government circles and the company has to be assisted. Remember, it’s a mine, they have to pump out water and so the mine can’t be left to flood or something, no, that won’t happen. But there is a bigger discussion just to find a solution to this because obviously, the liquidation process needs to be finalized and we find an amicable way forward which ensures the asset starts making money and not accumulating liabilities as the case you have raised,” Mulenga said.
When asked when the liquidation process was set to be completed, he bemoaned the delay caused by the suspension of court operations but said he would pursue the matter aggressively over the next couple of months.
“The matter has been in court, so COVID didn’t help because now when the court suspended their sittings, that further sent us into more frolicking because certain matters would have been heard by now as you know the court stopped sitting…but we remain positive, that is something that we will pursue aggressively over the next two three months to see how we bring closure to it because it’s in everyone’s best interest. That mine has a lot of potential to create wealth for this country and therefore, we just need to resolve the issues surrounding it and then we can start making money out of it,” said Mulenga.