President Edgar Lungu has directed Mines Minister Richard Musukwa to formulate agreements with mining companies in the country to avoid operations being placed under care and maintenance.
President Lungu wants the new regulation devised within the next one month.
The head of state has since constituted a high level delegation led by Finance Minister, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu to interrogate the challenges the mining sector is facing.
Finance Minister Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu made the revelation when he, Labour Minister Joyce Simukoko, Mines Minister Richard Musukwa, Copperbelt Province Minister Japhen Mwakalombe and Patriotic Front Copperbelt Provincial Chairman Nathan Chanda paid a courtesy call on Kitwe District Commissioner Chileshe Bweupe`s office and met mine unions before proceeding on a tour of Mopani operations in Kitwe and Mufulira.
And Mines Minister Richard Musukwa has revealed that government has once again rejected Mopani Copper Mines latest intentions to place its mine on care and maintenance after rescinding its earlier decision.
Mr. Musukwa says government has instead opted to engage in further dialogue with management at the mine to ensure the sustainability of operations beyond the 90 days.
And Labour Minister Joyce Simukoko said her ministry was shocked when Mopani proceeded to place its mine on care and maintenance because the mine did not write to the Labour commissioner informing him of the intended move.
Meanwhile, Mine-Workers Union of Zambia President Joseph Chewe has called on government to ensure the discussions with Mopani and other mines result in ensuring the survival of operations.
The high level delegation of government officials is in Kitwe and will in the next 4 days hold meetings with managements of various mining companies, unions, contractors and mine suppliers to understand challenges the sector is facing and to find a lasting solution to Mopani’s adamant intentions to place the mine on care and maintenance which continues to threaten over 11,000 jobs on the Copperbelt.