By JOHN SAKALA
Chingola Mayor Titus Tembo has told new Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Chief Executive Officer Christopher Shepherd that KCM is an economic big brother of Chingola and when it catches cold all businesses get paralysed.
And Mr Shepherd has asked for monthly meeting with Chingola Mayor for updates so that the local authority and the mining firm move in tandem to prosper Chingola and KCM.
Speaking when Mr Shepherd had paid a courtesy call on him, Mr Tembo said Chingola is a mining town and every business in the district evolves around KCM.
He said what has been of serious concern to the local authority has been delayed payments to suppliers and contractors by KCM and closure of some production areas of the mining firm.
“We want KCM to get back on its feet so that Chingola gets revamped. Currently, the economic situation in Chingola is very bad. Among your priorities ensure that you offset the debt owed to suppliers and contractors.
“As the local authority, we will support you and give you enabling environment to operate but resuscitate KCM, by clearing outstanding arears owned to suppliers and contractors. Also involve us as the local authority in your corporate and social responsibility projects so that you don’t give our people white elephants projects,” he said.
And Mr Shepherd assured the Mayor that offsetting the debt was on top of his agenda because when partners of the company are complaining, it jeopardizes the production of the mine.
He said his aim is to stabilize the company so that it records success and he is hopeful that by June most of the debts owed to suppliers and contractors can be cleared.
“We can’t stabilize the business if our partners are complaining. Though settling debt is like giving someone fish, my desire is to guide our business partners to have the technical skills. I think KCM employees too are complaining but my aim is to make both employees and our partners happy again. To achieve this, we will need to focus on technical matters of mining so that production output is increased.
“Let me be meeting you monthly so that we move together. We can even be meeting for 30 minutes for updates, this will help us to move on the same path and achieve more as a team. With CSR we can sit with the local authority, prioritize and reschedule some but not totally offsetting them from the table,” he said.