By SILUMESI MALUMO
GOVERNMENT will revoke the mining licence for Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) if it fails to revamp stalled operations, Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa has warned.
And Mr Musukwa said Government would soon take action on the sale of Lumwana gold mines.
Reacting to sentiments by KCM management that it has decided to shut some operations due to the unavailability of copper concentrates which are imported from neighbouring countries due to the new tax regime, Mr Musukwa told the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday that Government was running out of patience with KCM and it would not hesitate to revoke the licence.
“I think as government we are running out of patience with KCM. We have heard a lot of stories from them and now they have decided to halt operations, I think this is too much, we shall just take action by revoking the licence.
“It’s the same that happens when a person buys land from the Ministry of Lands and fails to develop it, the Ministry will get that land and this is exactly what will happen with KCM,’’ Mr Musukwa said.
Mr Musukwa said the mining firm could not build a smelter that was dependent on imported concentrates but should invest in development to sustain the operations.
He advised KCM against depending on VAT refunds for its operations but that the company should instead mobilise resources for it to make a tangible difference in the mining sector.
The minister said KCM had failed lamentably to run the mine even before the new tax regime was introduced.
The minister said if KCM management officials were serious, they should concentrate on developing the Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP) and the Nchanga Mine to increase production.
“KCM should be the last mining company to talk about the newly-proposed mining tax because even before the tax was introduced they have always had problems.
If anything, KCM must be serious and demonstrate why they are still around in Zambia,” he said.
“I want to repeat that our patience is running out with KCM, it must look for resources to invest in its operations because if nothing will be done we shall take stiff action,” Mr Musukwa said.
And Mr Musukwa said Government would soon inform the nation over the sale of Lumwana gold mines.
Mr Musukwa said government would not remain quiet over the sale of the mine by First Quantum Minerals.
Meanwhile Mr Musukwa also said mining companies should not use the newly-proposed mining tax as an excuse to give their workers meagre salary increments during negotiations. Mr Musukwa said miners needed decent conditions of services that would motivate them to work harder.