On Wednesday afternoon, bailiffs pounced on Mopani Copper Mines in trying to recover debt owed to the local authority.
Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe rushed to Mopani Copper Mines to stop the bailiffs.
Later, Nundwe, the Bailiffs, Kitwe City Council and Mopani Copper Mines lawyers went into a closed door meeting.
Addressing journalists later, Nundwe said an agreement was reached on how the amount will be settled.
“The status is that the amount is K58 million. We have negotiated to pay in installments and today ( Wednesday), Mopani will pay K8 million and the rest will be paid in installments. That is the position,” Nundwe said.
“These are private companies though minerals are for us. There must be a component of flexibility in the way we handle issues. We don’t find pleasure in seeing a company closing, because we have many Zambians working here. Even the council itself can’t make eight million kwacha in a month, this is a huge sum of money.”
He said the council should be flexible in its operations.
“We need to exercise some component of flexibility and if agreements are made, such agreements should be honoured. So they have not taken anything from the company, we have negotiated,” Mr Nundwe said.
“They have not gotten anything. The mine is also not happy with the levels of increment from the Council. The initial amount was K8 million but they said it just went to K58 million. We need to be exceptional in the manner we handle our investors. We don’t need to reach a stage where were seize property, it just gives an embarrassment. So we have spoken to the lawyers and the bailiffs and I am sure it will be paid on an agreed period. We don’t need to reach the stage of sending bailiffs and cripple the mines. We can lose jobs.”