GOVERNMENT should consider placing KCM on the Lusaka Stock Exchange to allow Zambians own the mine rather than give it to foreign investors, Chilanga Member of Parliament Maria Langa has proposed.
Ms Langa said that rather than give the mine to foreigners, it was imperative that government allowed Zambians to partially own the mine by floating some shares on the Lusaka Stock Exchange.
In her contribution to Parliamentary question and answer session on June 27, Ms Langa said that allowing the people to own KCM, would not only ensure it is better run but would help empower Zambians and give them a much stronger say in its management.
“You have said that there are a number of investors interested in taking over KCM, would you consider putting KCM on the Lusaka Stock Exchange and sell its shares to the people of Zambia to enable us own the mine ourselves?” she said in reaction to the discussion on the KCM.
She described government’s decision to repossess KCM from Vedanta as the right decision over the mining firm and praised President Lungu for the courageous stand over the mine.
“The President made the right decision to repossess the mine. Let the people now debate the best way forward for KCM since the matter is in public domain,” she said.
And a citizen has observed that there was need for government to consider the people owning the mines because experience had so for show that the foreigners had failed to efficiently manage them.
“Floating some of the KCM shares on the Lusaka Stock Exchange would not only raise the necessary resources to better manage the mine but will also help raise the profile of our stock exchange,” observed the citizen.
He proposed that the government allocates 60 percent KCM shares to ZCCM IH and float the remaining 40 percent shares on LUsE.
He said, “Experience has so far shown that foreigners have failed to operate the mine efficiently, let Zambians own it because they have the interest of their resources at heart.”
Meanwhile, Vedanta Resources has disclosed that it has invested over US$3 billion to improve the operations of the Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) since taking over the mine in 2004.
Vedanta said in a statement that after acquiring a 51 percent stake in KCM in 2004, the life of the mine was less than six years and the infrastructure needed massive investment.
It said Zambia’s copper mining processing sector was also in a difficult phase, stating that it was not daunted and wanted to make a difference therefore it remained firmly to revamp the operations.
“Vedanta paid US$4.2 million for the initial 51 percent share in KCM. This price reflected the company’s commitment to invest in a series of the major projects to open up new areas for the mining and build processing capacity,” the statement read.
Vedanta said it had invested about US$1.7 billion in improving the operations and improving the infrastructure.
The company said that over US$900 was invested in developing the Konkola Deep mine, over US$450 million into developing a new smelter at Nchanga with a sulphur capture of 99.6 percent, replacing the Nkana Smelter which was capturing only 30 percent.
Vedanta said over US$200 million was spent on developing new concentrators, at both Konkola Deep and Nchanga, and that over US$150 million was invested in various other projects.
Vedanta also said it had spent about US$200 million on community programmes, which included the construction of two hospitals, 14 satellite clinics, supported football clubs and provided safe drinking water to over 8,000 people through solar powered boreholes.