By JOHN SAKALA
Former Nchanga Open Pit Manager Francis Temba says Vedanta’s philosophy of having more interest at Accounts and Supply section is what killed the life of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
Chatting on The Independent Observer (tiozambia) WhatsApp news forum, Mr Temba said Vedanta’s emphasis at KCM was to control Supply and Accounts Sections, thereby forgetting production which is the lifeline of any mine.
“I think KCM faced multiple problems most created by Vedanta of wanting full control of Accounts and Supply sections. Hence, these became very important sections. Next in order of priority were Treatment plants and at the bottom we’re Ore sources! This philosophy is not only ridiculous but leads to dead ends and truly that happened!
“No Professional Mining Engineer would attest to this and most of these were either sidelined or got rid of completely. Those that survived were complicity to the philosophy either were incompetent or were belly- first engineers. My point of bringing the third point up is help you understand the people that you want to operate the mine. We should be talking about massive training to bring this lot to the level required to manage KCM. ZCCM placed Manpower Development as top on priorities where as KCM this didn’t exist,” he said.
He said at the moment, the issue is not just to replace but transform completely the mindsets of employees at KCM, a task he said was not easy because it requires a lot of time.
Mr Temba feels that if the takeover was done differently the costs of all the damages of KCM would’ve been borne by Vedanta.
“If, for instance a Technical Audit was carried first and the Results presented to decision makers it would’ve pinpointed failures of Vedanta against their own promises to Government at the time of investment. In standard Agreement there is compensation Clause that would have taken care of most costs. As it is that is bridge over water and academic.
“Don’t get me wrong I’m in total agreement of taking over KCM by Zambians but I just you to understand they’re operational land mines which we’ve to clear first. Any shortcuts will only lead us to serious setbacks and more suffering of our people with little sympathy from everybody!
And former ZCCM Section Engineer responsible for mineral movement for the entire ZCCM conglomerate said called for the need to also look at job creation.
“These so called investors come in with one agenda and that is to make money. They least on their minds is the welfare of Zambians. Because of that we have lost Ndola Copper Refinery, Zambia Emerald Ltd, Mining Timbers, Mulungushi Investments, Mine hospitals, Mine Clubs among others all because they have never been interested in them.
“The clubs produced international football icons guys like Kalusha Bwalya, Charles Musonda among others. Now if you look at the list above how many people lost jobs? How many were affected because of that action that was taken? We must revamp the refineries and the lot.
I read comments by friends with various opinions about how to proceed with Konkola Copper Mines (KCM). These are, indeed very true and interesting points.
However, first things first we need to understand the root causes of KCM’s current problems apart from the infamous lack of funding.