(By Darious Kapembwa and Marylin Rose)
THE Mineworkers Union of Zambia has revealed that Konkola Copper Mine owners have ripped the mining plant which has been dealing in scrap metal, leaving it a shell.
And the government has directed the Zambia Police on the Copperbelt to man all gates leading to KCM.
Speaking when the three mine unions presented a petition to Copperbelt minister Japhen Mwakalombe following a huge solidarity march by miners, ex-miners and residents in Chingola yesterday, MUZ president Joseph Chewe told Mwakalombe that Chingola and Chililabombwe had been destroyed by KCM’s negligence.
“Us as unions, we are very happy that today we have come to escort Vedanta out of the country. They have destroyed the mine. They don’t pay the contractors. Abash Vedanta!” shouted Chewe as the crowd responded, “Abash!”
“As we speak, honourable minister, this plant is a shell, they started dealing in scrap metal, the plant is a shell. We are very grateful to His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu for the decision he took on Friday. Abantu balila, kateka aumfwa (people have cried, the President ha heard). We are very glad now the load is lighter for us unions, we will be walking with our heads high now. Because Vedanta has ripped off the plant it’s now a shell. They don’t even have vehicles. Do you see KCM vehicles here in Chingola?” Chewe asked as the crowd responded with a resounding NO!.
However, Chewe cautioned against bringing Chinese investors to run the biggest mining operation when Vedanta leaves.
“Honourable minister, give us another investor who will safeguard people’s jobs, not the Chinese,” said Chewe as people cheered in agreement.
NUMAW president James Chansa and UMUZ’s Wisdom Ngwira were all present.
And Mwakalombe said no scrap metal dealing should take place in Chingola and Chililabombwe towns respectively to prevent KCM from dealing in scrap.
He said Zambians had lost out as a result of such dealings by mining companies.
Mwakalombe said the measures had been in place for interests of Zambians because mines had been making false promises to the people.
“…the government will not allow the exportation of jobs to other countries through the sale of concentrates by mining companies,” said Mwakalombe.