THE Rainbow Party says mining companies are in Intensive Care Unit, yet the PF government does not seem to care.
Party deputy national spokesperson Humphrey Kabwe says the Copperbelt Province is in misery because of mines halting their production.
“As Rainbow Party, we are saddened to see all Copperbelt mining companies in intensive care unit (ICU) for the past years, especially this year, thus making the economic activities of the region on halt. It is so painful to see the once vibrant mines struggling to operate which has resulted into most of them being put under care and maintenance. We are wondering how these mines seem to be struggling yet they have made a lot of money from our mineral resources,” Kabwe said.
“We believe as a party that most of these mines have not been reinvesting into their mines thus the struggling. Instead of reinvesting their profits into the mining development, they have been externalising their profits hence making their mining operations difficult. In the recent past the country has seen thousands of workers being sent on the street. And these mines have failed to pay dividends to government in the past 10 years, citing non-profit making. We don’t believe that if they have not been making profit they could have stayed long.”
He said the PF seem to have gone to bed with the foreign investors.
“When they bought mines they promised to reinvest in mining development so that they can sustain mining operations and create employment. But they have failed to reinvest and create a single job. Rather, the country has seen more workers being sent on the street. We had more workers during ZCCM despite all the challenges ZCCM was having,” he said. “And during ZCCM the economic activities of Copperbelt was doing fine. But today under foreign investment the region has experienced more economic challenges.”
Kabwe said a lot of contractors have gone on the street, leaving thousands of people without any source of income.
“In addition to this, mining companies have deliberately terminated a number of contracts for our local contractors and suppliers without regard, thus making the economic situation extremely bad. They have opted to give more contracts to their fellow foreign contractors and suppliers,” he said. “Look at what is happening at Chambishi Metals, Luanshya Copper Mines, Mopani, Chibuluma Mines and Kagem Mine! They are all currently placed on care and maintenance. And KCM under liquidation for the past one year. How can you have all the mines in the region on halt? And the government seems not to be bothered over the happenings. This is totally unacceptable and this is retrogressive to the development of our country. This is not normal and it should be resolved with urgency by the PF government.” Kabwe wondered what was the reason of having a foreign investor who can’t manage the mines profitably and can’t create employment.
“What is the benefit of having a foreign investor who can’t pay taxes and who can’t invest in the communities they operate from? Any investment should benefit both the locals and the owners but that is not the case,” said Kabwe.