METOREX Limited a company running Chibuluma Copper Mines has informed government of its intentions to place its operations on care and maintenance.
Mines Minister Richard Musukwa confirmed this in Kitwe, but said Government would not allow the mine to send people on the streets.
He said the reasons given by Metorex had nothing to do with the Covid-19 but with its depleted resources.
“Yes Metorex has informed government. But the reasons for placing the mine on care and maintenance have nothing to do with covid-19, but something to do with depleted resources. As government we have opened discussions with Metorex to avoid sending people on the streets,” said Musukwa.
And over 400 miners at Lubambe Copper Mines in Chililabombwe have lost their jobs after the mine terminated the contract of Redpath.
But Musukwa asked Lubambe Copper Mines to put the interest of the workers first before its dispute with Redpath.
“Lubambe as a parent company should protect the interest of the workers while they have a dispute with Redpath. In this critical time mining companies are reducing the cost profile not workers. We don’t want the mines to use workers as the sweeping rock under these critical times. Lubambe, Metorex and Mopani should protect the workers,” he said.
Musukwa said the decision by Mopani to place its Kitwe and Mufulira mines on care and maintenance was an illegality.
He added that the 90 days notice given by Mopani Copper Mines is not meant to stop operations.
“We have noted that the mine had intended to put its mines on care and maintenance. But government takes great exception to such moves. We need to sit down and dialogue and provide a sustainable way of doing (things) during this critical time and ensure that the workers on the Copperbelt and North Western that their jobs are guaranteed and protected and ensure that Mines are sustained.”
“So the Ministers of Finance, Mines and Labour will be on the Copperbelt to ensure that this is done well. We also welcome Zambians that will come on board with information that will help the sector navigate during this time are welcome to provide information. What we want as government is to be inclusive and allow a broad spectrum of Zambians to be involved as we structure forward during this critical time,” said Musukwa.
“One key element is to ensure that Mopani reduce its operating cost. We would like to speak survival modes and it is to use local contractors who are at low cost. The 90 days notice is not meant to stop operations. It is meant to ensure that a survival mode is structured, that is in the spirit of the law.”