Message Mer 1 Oct 2014 16:57

Government calls on mining firms to develop local capacity

Government calls on mining firms to develop local capacity
Time Posted: October 1, 2014 8:10 am

GOVERNMENT has called on mining industries to begin to develop local capacity to undertake specialist projects in order for them to contribute to long term sustainable development of the country.

Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma said currently, the Zambian mining industry was importing more than 80 per cent of its technical know-how because of insignificant local specialist service providers in the country.

Mr Yaluma said this in Kitwe yesterday when he graced the ceremony for the last blast in the sinking of the Mopani Copper Mines (MCM)’s US $323 million Synclinorium Shaft at Nkana Mine by Murray and Roberts Cementation, the contractor engaged for the project.

He said in a speech read for him by Mines acting Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda that the importation of technical know-how was contributing the high cost of production in the country’s mining industry.

“To change this setting, I urge the industry to begin to developing local capacity to undertake these specialist projects.

“This can only be achieved when international mining groups like Murray and Roberts Cementation forge partnership with Zambian entrepreneurs to form companies through which meaningful technology and skills transfer can take place,” he said.

Mr Yaluma commended MCM for investing in the project of sinking of the Synclinorium Shaft, which upon completion, would extend the life of the mine by at least 25 years.

He said Government was delighted by the development because not only would it secure long term employment of the people but also continues to sustain the economy of Kitwe and contribute to the country’s economy at large.

Mr Yaluma described the last blast in the sinking of the Synclinorium Shaft as a key milestone in the continued development and of the mining industry in the country.

MCM chief executive officer Danny Callow said the completion of the sinking of the main Synclinorium Shaft marked a major milestone in the construction of the state-of-the-art Synclinorium Shat aimed at extending the life of the mine beyond the current expected depletion dates of the existing reserves.

“This shaft will secure more than 3, 000 jobs which would otherwise have been lost as a result of closure of some of our uneconomic mines beginning in 2015,” he said.

Mr Callow said apart from securing the 3, 000 jobs, the new shaft would provide MCM with access to some 115 million tonnes of ore at a grade of 1.9 per cent copper and 0.09 per cent cobalt as well as provide sustainable income to the Government treasury.

Currently, he said, MCM was producing between 2.7 and 3 million metric tonnes of copper ore per year at Nkana but that with the coming the coming of the new shaft, the production level would almost double to around 5.1 million tonnes annually.

Mr Callow, however, bemoaned the continued withholding of the mining-giant’s US $200 million value added tax (VAT) refunds, a thing he said could force the mining firm to slow down progress on some of the development projects.

“In fact I must say mention that some of the projects have since been suspended due to financial constraints and these suspended projects will have a major future impact on our goal to increase copper production yet again by more than 50 per cent,” Mr Callow said.
Ce que l'on conçoit bien, s'énonce clairement, Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément. BOILEAU