By Nchimunya Miyoba
President Edgar Lungu has launched the USD 590 Million Chambishi South East Ore Body project that will create more than 5000 jobs for the local people.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Chambishi, President Lungu said the commencement of mining at the South East Ore Body (SEOB) is significant to the Zambian people particularly the locals who are direct beneficiaries.
President Lungu said Mining has for a long time been the country’s key economic amounting for the much foreign direct investiments.
He said from 2000 when mines were privatised about 13.14 billion has invested in the mine.
He observed that an increased foreign investments has contributed to the revival of operations which were nearly on the closure in some cases and the life span of some mines has been created.
He said it of great concern note that despite showing a great picture of the mining industry,it has not stimulated corresponding growth in other sectors because mining has been taken as mere source of the governments revenue and not a development catalysts.
President Lungu said the project is expected to boast the mine’s life span to 24 years thus increasing employment levels from the current 4000 to 5000 employees.
” The extended mines means more business opportunities for the local people in along time to come,” he said.
President Lungu said government is committed to ensuring that the substantial amount of foreign direct investment remains in the country.
He said it was gratifying to note that the project had progressed as scheduled despite the low metal prices and energy crisis the country experienced.
He said this show the serious affirmation that NFCA attaches to investing in the country.
He added that this is the kind of resillence is what is required in the mining industry adding that mine firms should emulate NFCA.
President Lungu commended NFCA, Zambian contractors and suppliers who work hard in ensuring that the project is success.
He said the coming on board of the SEOB will make up for the decline in production in other operations due to the depletion of resources and all other challenges been faced.
He commended NFCA for maintaining safety standards during construction phase and evidenced by the good record.
He said that he is hopeful that NFCA will not comprise safety standards.
He urged NFCA to continue with the good safety record as exhibited so far.
And NFCA Chief Executive Officer Zhang Jinjun said in the 20 years existence in Zambia, NFCA has completed the rehabilitation of the main ore body, the construction of the west body and the south east ore body at a total cost of 1.17 billion us dollars.
Mr Jinjun said added that a further 187 million US dollars was paid in taxes, while operation revenue is at 2.204 billion US dollars.
Speaking earlier Kalulushi Member of Parliament Kampamba Mulenga disclosed that NFCA has given out 270,000 for the purchase of houses sold to the sitting tenants of ZAFFICO
Ms Kampamba who is also Livestock minister said that the development means that the sitting tenants will not pay for the houses because NFCA has already paid for them.