Op-Ed: KCM is dead

 Op-Ed: KCM is dead

…only waiting for death certificate!

By Special Corespondent
It’s now apparent that both Vedanta and Government are not keen to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).

Lately both have been issuing contradictory statements on the fate of this mine. Both parties aren’t telling the country the truth.

Not so long ago the Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal travelled to Lusaka to hoodwink President Edgar Lungu that Vedanta would pump US $ 5 billion into KCM to resuscitate the dying mine.

There was no timeframe given for this investment and, equally surprising is the silence from both the Minister of Mines Christopher Yaluma and the treasury.

The silence from our government is deafening production at KCM to continue to plummet.

Recently Yaluma purported on the media that the planned labour transfer from KCM to JCH, a Chinese contractor chosen to outsource Konkola underground mine was halted.

But information coming out of KCM suggests that the program is on course. This was confirmed by KCM Corporate Affairs General Manager Eugene Chungu who issued a media statement that the outsourcing program would go ahead.

Chungu purported that all parties, including Mine Unions were on board on this plan to outsource but to the shock of the nation, the three unions distanced themselves from this plan.

They claim that the Union never endorsed the plan.

Changing of goal posts is a clear indication that KCM has been on deathbed for a long time and has now reached a point of no return.

What we are witnessing are kicks of a dying horse.

In case there are those in denial, the current situation is in cinch with the original Vedanta strategy of only exhausting all stockpile materials and the ore found exposed from previous management.

After all Vedanta only paid peanuts for KCM. Vedanta had no plans to invest in prolonging the lives of these mines. They wanted to make quick money and take that money out of the country to be invested elsewhere.

Vedanta expected to find a small mine after poking out only US$25 million for the former mining giant.

If there are people that are still under the illusion that this mine will be restored to prosperity by changing ownership, it’s, just a pipe dream.

The damage is huge and irreversible and no amount of shifting seats around this sinking Titanic will prevent the ship from sinking. KCM is dead even Yaluma himself knows it!

What Government must do is to insist that Vedanta brings into the country the billions Agarwal promised. This money can be used to develop other ore bodies that still exist on the property.

The balance of that money should be used to complete the Konkola Deep Mine Project (KDMP). This project was due to be in full production by 2010 and KCM had President after Presidents launch the project. To date this project is nowhere near expected level of production.

The programs to open new mines and complete the KDMP must be done without KCM’s involvement. If this is not done NOW, KCM will be gone by end of the year and the towns of Chingola and Chililabombwe would follow on the footsteps.

The decision is in Government’s hands to put our country first and save Chingola and Chililabombwe whose business evolve around this sinking Titanic!

The Independent Observer


John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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