Mines Minister Richard Musukwa says the government will not fold its arms waiting for a court process handling the KCM issues because it has people to take care of; adding that government will win the liquidation case of Konkola Copper Mines even if it was taken anywhere else on earth.
And Musukwa says nine companies have shown interest in taking over KCM including three Chinese companies and the bidding process will start in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Musukwa says KCM abrogated the conditions of the terms that were granted to them, adding that the audit process on the mining giant started in 2013.
Speaking at a joint press briefing with Information Minister Dora Siliya, Wednesday, Musukwa insisted that government would still win the KCM case anywhere on earth.
“We are very aware that the court processes are taking place. But we have a government to run we have our people we have our resources to protect and we cannot fold our arms waiting for a court process which we respect, and in fact for your own information, even if they took us anywhere on earth we will win the case, [Except] that we are inclined to believe that our legal systems in Zambia are adequate to deal with the KCM issue and we enjoy jurisdiction. We enjoy sovereignty and only scared people, because of their illegal activities, will be running from one point to another,” Musukwa said.
And Musukwa disclosed that nine companies showed interest in taking over the operations of KCM.
“We have a lot of stakeholders that have expressed interest in taking over KCM. Government has instituted a technical team of experts from various works of life from the Ministry of Mines from the Ministry of Commerce, from the Ministry Finance and other stakeholders such as the Trade Unions and also the president has also brought in representation of members of parliament led by Anthony Mumba Kantashi MP. This is meant to enhance transparency and accountability we want to ensure that the process of getting an equity partner is done in an open transparent manner and a process that will not smell any form of corruption,” Musukwa said.
“Currently we have nine companies that have expressed interest in taking over KCM these are the Russians and I am deliberately starting with the Russians because people only know about Chinese because it is in their interest to portray that kind of space. We have the Turkish, we have Canadians, we have Australians and we have three Chinese companies; we have CNMC (China Non-Ferrous Mining Company), we have Zhong Ji international limited and we have Jinchuan Group, those who run Chibuluma mines. And the process is that all those that are interested are reporting to the technical team and this team makes them sign a non-disclosure document which is a document approved by our legal team and once they express interest they make presentations and after making presentations, they are allowed to go and inspect the mines in terms of face value then they will be able to do the due diligence and after that is how the big process will begin in terms of going forward. The bidding process is going to start once all the companies that have expressed interest finish with the due diligence on the company and we are hoping that this could be done within a couple of few weeks so that we can close up on the process.
And Musukwa said the audit of operations on KCM didn’t start two months ago but in 2013.
“This process didn’t start two months ago, it started in 2013 when government through the ministry of mines commissioned a technical audit on KCM which was done by eminent people in the industry and it was established that the threat of insolvency at KCM was very high. So as a government we started engaging KCM to ensure we structure a survival mode. And from that score we agreed on a business development plan what is sad is that even the commitment they gave in the business development plan, they never fulfilled,” said Musukwa.
“KCM has failed to produce evidence on where they sold the copper so we cannot refund them on evidence they have not produced, Copper is not tomatoes that you can go to a market and sell, No! If you have sold, give us evidence of where you sold we will give you the refund, meanwhile KCM owes Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) K3.1 billion and Ministry Of Finance owes KCM K1.4 billion and out of the one point billion kwacha, 900 has already been accepted and audited by government the balance from that money is what is in dispute because they have not produced receipts.”