Copperbelt forum worried at lack of progress in resolution of Konkola, Mopani mines tussle


Copperbelt Civil Society Mining Consultative Forum (CSMCF) says it is disappointed by President Hakainde Hichilema’s inertia in resolving issues at Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) and Mopani Copper Mine (MCM).

The forum described the statement attributed to Mines and Minerals Development Minister, Paul Kabuswe, saying the Democracy Summit delayed decision making as disappointing.

Forum Chairperson,Gerald Mutelo, said in a statement in Kitwe on Saturday, the government’s failure to fulfil promises to announce the way forward regarding the two mines was worrying.

Read more: Forum tasks government on KCM, Mopani mines

“The President while on the tour of the Copperbelt last month promised Zambians that the government will announce the progress made towards Mopani and KCM by the end of March 2023 and this is April with no feedback yet,” Mutelo said.

He said above everything else, the people expected issues to do with the two mines to take a centre stage of the presidential visit.

“On Mopani it was revealed that the government had sourced for funds to put in operations of the mine but the question that begs an answer is what is the source of funds? And conditions attached to the funds if any? The other question is, how is the government intending to manage and run Mopani since no investor has been named yet,” Mutelo said.

On KCM, he said people were anxious to be told what the government’s counter proposal is to that of Vedanta as well as who is sitting on the table for Zambia and individuals representing the voice of the community.

Mutelo said they are interested to know when negotiations were likely to be concluded.

“We further express our disappointment with media reports attributed to Mr Kabuswe that the government had a busy schedule as it hosted a Democracy Summit and the visit of United States Vice President Kamala Harris,” the statement stated.

Mutelo said the Minister’s response lacked seriousness and delaying tactics.

He said there was a need to detach politics from important matters of mining adding that mining was a sensitive sector.

The civil society group has urged President Hichilema to announce the new investor for Mopani and when the money would be available as well as the way forward for KCM.

CSMCF is the creation of the Democratic Governance and Human Rights Advocates (DEGHA), Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) Emerald and Semi-precious Miners Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) and Catholic Diocese of Ndola among others.

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