KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) chief executive officer Steven Din has dismissed media reports that the Vedanta Resources Plc-owned mining company intends to shut down its operations in Zambia and he has assured workers that their jobs are secure.
Mr Din, however, said KCM is losing US$2 million every month due to low copper production as a result of the power deficit.
He said the mining house will only cut down some operations to reduce costs but will preserve and secure the jobs of its workers.
He was speaking during a media breakfast at Cresta Golfview Hotel in Lusaka yesterday.
“It is true we are going through a difficult situation currently, but it has not affected our production for some employees to lose their jobs,” he said.
On November 12, The Post newspaper reported that KCM has written to its workers at Nchanga, informing them that the Chingola-based underground mine would be put on care and maintenance with immediate effect.
The tabloid reported that 2,503 workers at KCM would be laid off immediately.
Mr Din said KCM is in discussions with Government to iron out issues affecting operations of the mines.
He said KCM has put in place measures to sustain its operations and it is now focused on increasing production as a way of managing the low copper price at the London Metal Exchange.
“KCM is seeking measures to sustain operations in the wake of a slump in copper prices and production. The mining giant will not close its mining operations in Zambia,” Mr Din said.
KCM will continue with its operations despite the challenges it is facing like the power deficit and the re-introduction of corporate tax.
According to the Wall Street Journal, copper prices hit a multi-year low for the third consecutive session in London yesterday, as some investors moved out of the industrial metal, a riskier asset, after the terror attacks in Paris.
The London Metal Exchange’s three-month copper contract was down 1.2 percent at US$4,766 a metric tonne in mid-morning European trade, having earlier traded at US$4,747.50 a tonne, a fresh six-year low.
The price of the metal tumbled as investors sold down their holdings of the so-called risk assets after acts of terrorism in Paris on Friday triggered doubt about the possible effects on the global economy. The fall underscored the fragile nature of investor sentiment in a metal which has seen sharp declines linked to China’s weakening economy.
Meanwhile, former Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president Isaac Ngoma called on the media to be factual in its reporting to avoid misinformation.
Mr Ngoma also said the mining sector should be supported to enable it sustain its operations.
He said what is currently happening in the Zambian economy such as power deficit and low copper prices is a global trend and not unique to Zambia.
Mr Ngoma said it is from this background that the media should stop misinforming the general public on operations of the mines in the country.
“As the media, we must realise that misinformation is not good for the nation, we must endeavour to report factually and stop misleading the nation,” he said.
Mr Ngoma also urged the media to report other institutions affected by power cuts instead of concentrating on mines only.
He also said there is need to verify information before reporting because there have been a lot of negative stories on the mines.
Meanwhile, Mr Din said KCM will continue with its community programmes and will ensure that Chingola gets back to what it used to be as a mining town.