Message Lun 7 Déc 2015 07:15

Forensic experts dig into KCM

THE team of experts constituted by the government to carry out a forensic audit of mining companies on the Copperbelt has started its work at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Chingola.
And Chingola Municipal Council has identified land to be allocated to retrenched miners who are interested in going into agriculture.
Government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said in Chingola yesterday that the forensic audit team began its work last Thursday and that it is expected to wind up the investigations at KCM in the next two weeks.
The auditors are mandated to establish whether the reasons that have been forwarded to put Nchanga Underground Mine on care and maintenance are genuine or not.
The decision by KCM has caused the loss of 1,600 jobs in companies which were contracted by the Vedanta Resources subsidiary.
Mr Kambwili said Government will come up with a position on the matter after the forensic audit.
“We want to establish whether the reasons are genuine or not. If they are telling us lies we will direct KCM to open the mine or repossess the under-ground mine and give it to other interested investors,” he said.
Mr Kambwili, who is Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, was speaking in Chingola when he addressed the affected miners at the Mine Club.
He said if the forensic audit team establishes that the reasons are not acceptable KCM will be told to write an abandonment letter to Government to enable another investor to take up the underground mine.
Mr Kambwili said the mining sector the world over has been affected by low copper prices on the international market and reasons being forwarded should be based on facts such as the high cost of production.
Copper prices have plummeted on the international market from as high as US$7,500 to as low as US$4,500 per tonne.
Mr Kambwili said other mines have not closed down and were even carrying our expansion works.
Mr Kambwili said the miners will be paid according to the contracts that they had signed with their employers.
Mr Kambwili also said officers from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will visit KCM to check on foreign employees to establish whether they qualify to work as expatriates.
And Mr Kambwili said Chingola Municipal Council has identified land in Muchinshi area on the Solwezi-Chingola road to allocate to miners who have lost their jobs and are interested in going into farming.
“Being a caring government we are going to allocate five hectares of land to each of you and come next year, you will be given fertiliser and seeds to assist you embark on farming activities,” he said much to the approval of the retrenched miners.
He said even when the retrenched miners are recalled for work they will still remain with the land and continue with their farming activities.