The Association of mine suppliers and contractors have called on the government to come up with a rescue plan for the Mopani Copper Mine (MCM) instead of letting the management place the copper mine on care and maintenance.
The association accused Mopani Mine of trying to use the current COVID 19 challenges as a scapegoat to implement models that sideline Zambians and Zambian businesses in their supply chain. They have moved their buying office to South Africa and have terminated most of the contracts for local Zambian contractors.
The association believes the current management at the mine has been insincere in its dealings with the government
“Mopani Copper Mines has been promising us and the nation world-class operation by implementing different business models year in year out with no positive results. They just want to circumvent the law in order to satisfy their hidden agenda”, the joint statement read.
The mine contractors association stated that Glencore and its Mopani management has failed to run the Mine and that it should be repossessed and that a business rescue plan be instituted as opposed to placing the mine on care and maintenance.
“All business models tried by Mopani has lamentably failed and their failure is likened to what used to happen at Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines – KCM. These actions may just be a subtle way to try and exit Zambia.
Mopani copper mine, a subsidiary of Glencore announced yesterday on April 7, 2020 through a press statement made available to the Zambian Business Times – ZBT that following the drop in the copper prices and the impact of COVID 19, the mine will cease normal operations and be placed on care and maintenance.
Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange have dropped putting pressure on mining operations following COVID 19 threats which have slowed down global growth. Zambia has already adjusted downward its 2020 GDP growth rate projection from 3.2% to 2% by the end of last month.
The timing of this announcement by MCM further compounds the Zambian government’s efforts as its directed its energies and resources to fighting #covid 19. MCM has pledged to keep some of the staff on the payroll as it winds down its smelter operations and has also indicated that it will make an ex-gratia payment to unionized staff.