KCM is important to Zambia mining sector growth – Musukwa
July 15, 2014
The Zambian government will continue to support Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in its expansion plans, the Mines, Energy and Water Development deputy minister Richard Musukwa has said.
Mr Musukwa, in his keynote speech at a recent mining summit in London, said the investments in KCM in the past few years had helped in fulfilling the government’s policy to expand the mining sector and ensure the growth of the entire economy.
“We are happy with KCM’s investments to expand the mine’s lifespan at Nchanga and their new investments at Konkola Deep,” he told delegates from different parts of the world at the Mining on Top– London summit, in reference to the KCM units.
Mr Musukwa said total Zambia copper production was expected to reach 1.5 million metric tones by 2016 as a result of investments from KCM and other industry players.
“We need an industry that helps the government deliver its objectives of fighting poverty. Government will support KCM overcome their challenges and government expects KCM to reciprocate,” Mr Musukwa said.
He assured KCM and other mines represented at the London summit that the government would maintain its policy to promote a private sector-driven industry that delivers profit for investors and helps improve the quality of life of the Zambians.
“We would like to see KCM flourish and continue to operate; you have our support,” Mr Musukwa said during bilateral talks with Vedanta Resources Plc Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese. Vedanta is the majority shareholder of KCM.
Mr Musukwa said $8 billion has been invested in the sector since privatization of the mines in 2000. KCM has invested $2.9 billion of this amount in expanding existing operations, building the Nchanga smelter, new concentrators at Nchanga and Konkola, sinking the Konkola Deep Mining Project shaft No. 4, the first shaft sinking project since Zambia’s independence in 1964, and training employees in new skills required for mechanized mining, among other things.
Investments in Zambia’s mining sector will reach $15 billion by 2017 on account of the new projects, he said.
Mr Musukwa assured investors that Zambia has adequate laws offering full protection against state nationalization and is a signatory to multilateral investment guarantee agency as well as the international convention on the settlement of investment disputes.
“We have an independent judiciary as well as sound governance structures based on the rule of law. Zambia continues to enjoy exceptional political stability since independence and this year (2014) we are celebrating our Golden Jubilee – 50 years of uninterrupted peace,” he said.
Mr Albanese said Vedanta was in Zambia for the long haul.
“We have an exploration vision of 50 years. It is rare to have such period of expectation in mining and therefore we are committed to staying in Zambia. In addition, we are ready to help Zambia attract investments in the area of infrastructure development to support the mining industry.”