ACTIONAID Zambia country director Nalucha Ziba has called on government to give a clear position on whether or not there are plans to sell Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines.

In a statement, Monday, Ziba said government should also address questions surrounding the KCM liquidation process.

“ActionAid Zambia has noted the recent and unfortunate speculations of the Zambian government intent to sell mining companies Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines to foreign investors. With the recent withdrawal of Glencore, who were the majority shareholder in Mopani Copper Mines, in March 2021, there was an indication that the privatization blunders of the past would finally be corrected, and Zambia would finally reap the benefits of its valuable mineral resources learning from earlier failed privatization processes,” she stated.

“As ActionAid Zambia we request that the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, through the office of the Minister, to give a clear and official statement clearing the ongoing speculations of sale towards the mentioned mine companies, as well as an official statement on the legal status of the liquidation process of Konkola Copper Mine.”

She said selling the mines to potential investors may not acquire an attractive or profitable price that would benefit the country.

“As ActionAid Zambia we have recently worked in enhancing transparency and accountability in the extractive sector in ensuring that community voices are heard towards their grievances and implementation of various tax justice campaigns in the extractives. We have so far with the support of other CSO’s supported government’s efforts of domesticating the African Mining Vision 2030 and advocating for the Mineral Revenue Sharing Mechanism to be implemented in the various host mining communities in the country. Unfortunately, due to the lack of proper implementation of the Mineral Revenue Sharing Mechanism efforts were difficult to implement a mechanism that will benefit mining host communities,” Ziba said.

“As Zambia’s mining sector has historically been the backbone of the Zambian economy making up 78.9 percent of exports and contributing about 10 percent of GDP (EITI, 2019), it is important to note that once a sale of the mine is considered, majority of shareholding must remain with a higher percentage being Zambian owned. Unfortunately, with the controversial saga around the liquidation processes and legal matters arising, selling the mines to potential investors may not acquire an attractive or profitable price benefiting to the country.”

Ziba said government should explore other models which would increase the participation of Zambians in the ownership and running of mines.

“With the incoming of the New Administration and the New Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources we call on the new government to take into consideration a robust consultative engagement with various stakeholders in the mining sector including Civil Society Organizations in order to strengthen government engagement in promoting open and accountable management of its mineral resources. As ActionAid Zambia we hope for the proper coordination of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) through the ZCCM-IH, in the light that a decision to sell either or both mines is made,” said Ziba.

“However, our recommendation is that government explores other models that increase the participation of Zambians in the ownership and running of mines through transparent processes. The Zambian government must therefore explore avenues to recapitalize these mines while maintaining ownership and control of their operations to ensure that they are not exploited by multinationals in the collections of mining taxes. Additionally, government must therefore continue to work to reduce financial malpractices of company tax avoidance, transfer mispricing and illicit financial flows and ensure revenue collection is maximized while looking at measure to ensure that Corporate Social Responsibility is made mandatory to benefit the most vulnerable in the Zambian mining communities.”