Opinion

OPINION: Vedanta Can Go; We’ll Take Care of KCM!

The announcement by President Edgar Lungu that the government is ready to cut its ‘relationship’ with some mines and take over their running gives some hope to the people of the Copperbelt Province and the country as whole.

It may seem like a bad decision but a quick look into recent history will show that the government of Zambia has previously managed to run mines abandoned by some investors that promised heaven but failed to live to their word. Very few are ready to sail through the problems and would rather call it quits and move to the next possible investment destination with hopes of taking advantage of weaker governments, wherever that may be.

Having KCM investors, Vedanta Resources, pulling out of Konkola Copper Mines will not be a new thing. And that the government desires to take over the running of this mine is not a queer move – it has happened before and things were just fine! Here is a quick reminder of what happened 17 years ago:

On January 25, 2002, Anglo-American made an announcement that it was pulling out of Zambia. The company gave similar excuses we have heard from others when they want to run away from the country – that they had been struggling to turn around the crumbling mines it bought from the State some 22 months before.

As you can guess, the news of Anglo-American’s decision to pull out of Konkola Copper Mines was devastating to not only the government but the entire Copperbelt Province that relied heavily on these mines for jobs and other related services. Mining is an industry that has for many years held this country’s economic base, as hopes of complete diversification are still not fully actualized. Thousands of jobs were on the line – where were they going to go?

An emergency Cabinet meeting was called by then Republican president Levy Mwanawasa after learning of Anglo-American’s plan’s to withdraw its shareholding in KCM, the biggest copper mining operation in the country. It was a shattering experience! Then chief executive of the base metals unit of Anglo-American, Simon Thompson, made a statement to the effect that without additional financing, Konkola Copper Mines, a subsidiary of Zambia Copper that operated the mines, “would be out of business within a year”. At that time, Anglo-American owned 65 per cent shareholding in KCM and accounted for about two thirds of the country’s total production. But a slump in copper prices was enough for Anglo-American to pack their sacks and go, claiming an unfavourable environment yet the reason for their departure was political – Anderson Mazoka whom they heavily supported had lost the 2001 elections. Remember that current UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has previous promised to bring back Anglo-American to take over from Vedanta Resources if he wins the presidential elections!

When they (Anglo-American) did this, the government took hold of the situation and promised the Zambians that everything would be under control. This was done under an initiative which was called “Tubombe Tusunge” that was managed by Zambian Jordan Soko. Others in the top team were Pius Mambo and a Mulenga who took charge of things at KCM after the unexpected and unfortunate pull out of Anglo American from KCM. Things kicked off very well such that government and investment advisors in Europe told Zambia not to sell the mine as the copper boom had just begun. But they didn’t listen – Rajan Mahtani played a key role in bringing Vedanta in to take over KCM for song. The mine’s value in assets which was over $400 million never counted at all and Vedanta couldn’t believe its luck such that the chairman, Anil Argawal, had to mock the country and Mwanawasa for cheaply giving away Zambia’s mine and its assets for peanuts.

With this background, President Lungu is justified to make pronouncements to the effect that he is ready to let Vedanta Resources go so that the resources of KCM can be preserved until a suitable investor is found to take over. To be honest, government can do it. There is nothing that it can fail to do when it comes to running of these mines. This country has more than enough capacity to run the mines and proof of this is there. We have very educated and experienced Zambians who only need a chance to prove their worth!

What Sunday Chanda, the PF media director, has said it true. Zambia’s mineral resources belong to the people, “only the people can dictate when one can stop mining them”.

43 Comments

  1. hb

    Mr president give kcm to napsa don’t give it to investor again we can run that mine own our own.

    • oval

      Lungu is a thug, he is visiting mines to extract payment to his Swaziland bank account. Nothing happens. This is not the time to talk nonsense. No investor is interested to come to Zambia when Kwacha is going to be 20 to a dollar within next 4 weeks.
      Emptyhead oval shape headed drunkard heading Zambia, making it a Zombie land

  2. JDM

    It’s tru, de people who mine copper is us zambians,if u com nd go underground u wil find zambians operating machines,dis so called white pipo dey’re in de’re offices drinkin coffe. A well meaning zambian shuold suport dis mov by de president unless u’re a politician who don’t know wt to politiciz go on mr president.

  3. Ep

    That’s the great move my president I salute you

  4. Truestory

    Very true mwandi, we are fed up these idiots. If we can do it to run the mines, then let’s go in that direction. Don’t bring anyone to run our mines, twanaka nabo bakolwe kabaleya.

  5. Alu.B.

    Way to go!If a wife misbehaves,next move is to let her go,kwasila!

  6. Mapesho

    Good move. Let’s not allow to be enslaved in our own country. If they have failed to run the mines let them go.

  7. KCM

    Yes we are going,Coz we have failed to run the mine.

  8. Mulenga

    A welcome pronuncement by the head of state on mines which are not laying the golden eggs but instead are a liability to the nation.

  9. Mazuzyo

    Mwacelwa!

  10. Bana Simon

    People politicising this move are not being sincere to the Zambian people especially to Zambian mine workers on the ground. Zambian mine workers have spoken that they are not happy. Why on earth would you insist that the mines stay. It can only be for selfish reasons.PERIOD.

  11. tom tiger

    if the goverment can manage 2 buy expensive cars,yes they can manage 2 run kcm very well

  12. Chief

    What are good move we can do it more than them let them go. We should get what HH sold kasila

  13. mengezi

    Ok!well said,bt first yo neibour Zimbabwe ll tell u da disadvantage of wat u’r thnkng.

  14. Jaguar J

    That is a very brilliant idea lungu you have made no literate no sourrend, good move mr President we zambian can’t fail to run the mine if we think of a investors taking over let it be 50/50 shares then that way we are going to improve our economy i mean if can be applied to all mines in zambia , the world is changing from Anglo to digital with the introduction of electrical car copper who have demand so let start thinking outside the box not inside the box this is just a concern to my upcoming future leaders, familys people of zambia and not forgetting the country at large thanks.

  15. Hollywood

    You are the man of action show them

  16. James

    All you people must be dumb. Why would someone come all the way and buy a mine abundonened by an Anglo American company???. You expect due diligence to be in the public domain. I am sure you don’t expect these mines to come and start accumulating loses from their word go. Once you sell an entity you can not proscribe what they do with it. If there investment doesn’t seem to produce a profit it’s all up to management to devise means of producing a profit and dividend to investors. That’s what matters in the end.

  17. Jackal

    No time to entertain crooked businessmen and exploiters. Let them go. We can run the mines. We did it before the MMD sold them after taking over from UNIP.

  18. Mmj

    well done HE thats the way to go we can do it better we have enough engneers economists and managers to run our mines

  19. HB

    Zambian let’s run kcm so that we can have more dollars

  20. Shy Q

    Mr President. Ubo. Buufi mulebepe, imwe just tell us ati… you want to give it to the Chinese people. Tali baiche ba kubepa iyooo..!

  21. Vedanta

    We Are Going, What Alse Do You Want Us To Do Since We Have Made Our Money?

  22. Mmmm

    Dont sale it to jeraboz please

  23. Yesu

    NAPSA is keeping trillions of dollars enough to run kcm

  24. truth about Zambia

    Zambia got its independence but not zambian people why some who are said to be Zambians are socialist that’s why things are not good during the time of kk people made big queues just to by meali meal if kcm to is said to be operated by Zambians tomorrow we will hear that a Chinese wants to run kcm common Zambians open your eyes no one is capable of operating under hash conditions

  25. truth about Zambia

    Zambia got its independence but not zambian people why some who are said to be Zambians are socialist that’s why things are not good during the time of kk people made big queues just to by meali meal if kcm to is said to be operated by Zambians tomorrow we will hear that a Chinese wants to run kcm common Zambians open your eyes no one is capable of operating under hash conditions

  26. HB

    If they give to chinese worse no any contractor shall get any contract like they get from mopani any one get contracts or supply from nfc or ccs zero will sufer people of zambia. Let’s be like south africa if something is not ok we protest. Chenese vegetable twachula ala kcm is ok get you money after 9 month.

  27. Mike Wasa

    Hope we won’t regret this move

  28. TRUTH KILER

    LET THE GOVERNMENT RUN THE MINES
    GIVE THE WAY FOR NAPSA I THINK IT HAS THE MUSCLE TO TAKE OVER.

    LASTLY NEVER TRY TO PUT CHINESE IN THIS.

    WHY DO WE FAIL TO RUN CERTAIN THINGS GOVERNMENT?

    IT IS A GOOD THING WHEN THE 100 STAKE IS FOR GOVERNMENT IN THAT WAY WE MAY DEVELOPMENT THAN SHARING OUR RESOURCES WITH THESE INVESTORS.

  29. sage

    Dont believe these politicians,today they say this tomorrow they are apologizing

  30. Vendata

    I think we hv made Enough money even if we go we’ll enjoy our money for over 300years

  31. Fines@five,five

    Comment ,,,,,But how come again that the govt is repossessing the mcm/Kcm ,mines ,,Margaret Mwanakatwe assured the people that Kcm /mcm have agreed to new tax laws and no pruining and job losses Dr Kasolo said Mining companies are not doing well and he was fired from ZCCM and again Edgar want to repossess why ??The answer is MBILI /HH who can fix the economy not ba Edgar ubufi boza buhata ,makuli !!!
    Let’s organise for 2021for good people

  32. Mr Chopet

    NAPSA has the ability to run KCM please mwebuteko let NAPSA take over twapapata

  33. Charles

    Wow that’s a good move Mr President sir, we have skilled people who can run the mines. Let the government take over.

  34. andy

    stop lying to us naimwe

  35. Mbewe A

    This takeover has chilling echoes to Zimbabwe land grab .. We are going to collapse ..And no sane investor will come to our country in 100 years .. We simply don’t learn

  36. The Taliban

    Mr President sir,please stop lieing to the nation that we have the capability to take care of the KCM mine,we are not yet there as zambians to run these,just source for the right ones and that’s when we zambian we can have little shares on that,not has major investor’s.

  37. CHOLA

    Thanks Mr President these ……… They were just Dr complain you viva 2021 ECL

  38. kabunda j

    Good move by Government. KCM has finished Chingola, it will now come back to normal as before. thanks to H.E.

  39. Ubuteko

    Good move ushitasha nindoshi

  40. mwale

    My opinion
    Zambian government should own 30%, Zambian investor 25%, foreign investor 20% and another foreign investor 25.she we do that, it means we have greater control over the affairs of the mines. We do not want lies again as the president have said. The other thing is let Zesco have the shares in the mines because electricity used in the mines comes from ZESCO then to CEC. Parliament must amend some acts for zesco to have some shares, zesco will be supplying power without any problems and the profits from copper and cobalt will be pump back to zesco and mining machines and good salaries for workers in mines & zesco.

  41. John Bulanda

    This company is a let down . unnecessary redundancies with slavery pension packages.

  42. Beston Kangwai Goodson

    Go our president thats a good move ECL?

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