Ng’andu confidence to reach agreement with Mopani in 2wks

FINANCE minister Bwalya Ng’andu is confident an agreement will be reached with Mopani Copper Mines not to place the operations on care-and-maintenance in the next two weeks.

Mopani has informed government of its intentions to place its operations on care and maintenance after 90 days due to a number of challenges among them the high cost of production, VAT refunds owed to them and shrinking business space due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Ng’andu, in the company of mines minister Richard Musukwa, Labour minister Joyce Nonde-Simukoko and Copperbelt minister Japhen Mwakalombe, met Mopani management in a bid to find a solution to prevent the mines from closing after the given 90 days.

Speaking after the meeting at Mopani Central offices this morning, Dr Ng’andu said President Edgar Lungu had given him 30 days to resolve the matter with only three weeks left but remained confident that the matter would be put to rest after two weeks when Glencore responds to government.

“The position we have presented is that it’s not acceptable that the future of the mines is left in balance and what we have suggested is that there is need for management of the mine to carefully examine the cost of production and see if there are ways they can cut substantially the cost of production because in our analysis we think that there are areas that that can be done…we think we can find a workable solution,” said Dr Ng’andu.

“It was a frank and open discussion we had in which we gave out all the information we had and we asked them, the MD here, to respond but they have to consult their principals outside which we agreed.”

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