Govt to hand over Mopani Copper Mine end of February, announces receiving US$80 million from new investors


Government has announced the handing over of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to the new investors by end of this month.

It had also announced to be in receipt of US$80 million from the project to pay off the creditors.

These announcements were made by the Finance and National Planning Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, at the Symposium on the 2023 budget Performance and Economic Developments, in Lusaka on Friday.

The Minister revealed that the new investors were already sending money to pay off creditors, with US$80 million already paid to government last week.

Musokotwane said an additional US$50 million was expected from the new investors in the next few weeks.

He expressed confidence that this investment, coupled with the expected US$220 million from Vedanta Resources, would assist to stabilise the exchange rate which was on free falling, currently at K27 for a dollar.

Read more: Govt hints at Kwacha making a rebound, as $80 million Mopani capital injection expected in few days (video)

“By end of February, we will be handing over Mopani Copper Mine to the new investors who are already sending money into the company to pay off the creditors.

“We have so far received US$80 million in the past one week. The company has already started paying some of the creditors in foreign currency and we expect US$50 million next week,” Dr Musokotwane said.

On Konkola Copper Mine (KCM), the Minister explained that government and Vedanta Resources were yet to agree on how creditors would be paid.

“Vedanta promised to pay US$220 million as they takeover to pay the creditors. This will help to stabilise the exchange rate,” Musokotwane said.

He also noted that much as the exchange rate was under pressure, it was important to know that this was something that happened in countries now and then.

“This happens all over the world and has happened before in Zambia. In 2015, the exchange rate lost value by 72 percent. The issues of shocks can never be ruled out, it has happened in the past, it is happening now and it will happen in future,” he said.

At the same function, Bank of Zambia Governor (Boz), Denny Kalyalya, spoke of continued support aimed at moderating exchange rate volatility and assisting in importation of critical agricultural inputs, medical supplies, and petroleum products.

Kalyalya said at the close of 2023, the Kwacha traded at K25.71 against the United States dollar, driven by persistent supply shortages amid a broad-based rise in demand and adverse market sentiments emanating from the protracted debt restructuring negotiations.

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