Zambia News

Ex-Miners Association Applauds President Hichilema for Mopani Copper Mines Revival

Ex-miners have applauded the UPND government for its instrumental role in unlocking the Mopani Copper Mines. Acting President of the association, Lucky Zulu, expressed heartfelt gratitude for what he described as a pivotal step forward, offering relief, fresh air, and renewed hope to the energetic ex-miners eagerly anticipating positive change.

The National Ex-Miners and Allied Workers Association of Zambia have praised President Hichilema and the government for their role in unlocking the Mopani Copper Mines. The association’s Acting President, Lucky Zulu, expressed gratitude for what he termed as a crucial step forward, providing relief, fresh air, and renewed hope among energetic ex-miners.

Zulu emphasized that the association is actively engaged in communicating with both Mopani management and government officials to prioritize the reinstatement of ex-miners. This move comes in light of the substantial investment of $1.1 billion USD by International Resources Holdings into the mines, marking a significant turning point for the industry.
Speaking to ZNBC News, Zulu highlighted the importance of this development, particularly in revitalizing the livelihoods of ex-miners who have long awaited such positive initiatives.

Additionally, Musa Kamfimbwa, President of Emerald Production Watch of Zambia, echoed similar sentiments, commending President Hichilema for his efforts in unlocking the Mopani Copper Mines and attracting substantial investment into the sector. Kamfimbwa emphasized the need for swift action in developing a roadmap to revive Emerald Mining in Lufwanyama District.

Kamfimbwa underscored that the joint investment between ZCCM–IH and International Resources Holdings at Mopani holds the promise of generating significant business opportunities and employment for Zambians. He urged President Hichilema to expedite measures aimed at revitalizing the Emerald Mining sector, ensuring that the benefits of such investments are maximized for the local populace.

Last week President Hichilema unveiled Mopani Copper Mines’ new Strategic Partner-International Resource Holdings.
President Hichilema said the occasion marked a significant turnaround for the economy of not only the Copperbelt but the country as a whole.

“In partnership with International Resource Holdings (IRH) from Abu Dhabi, we are embracing a new era for Mopani Copper Mines. This moment, long awaited by our citizens, is not just a handover but a meticulously negotiated partnership that represents mutual respect and equitable benefits,” expressed President Hakainde Hichilema during the unveiling ceremony in Kitwe.
President Hichilema emphasized the importance of Mopani as a crucial asset for Zambia’s economic prosperity. He stressed, “Mopani should not be viewed as a burden but rather as a beacon of growth and opportunity.” This sentiment was echoed by various stakeholders, including local leaders and mining union representatives.

“The partnership with IRH signifies a strategic move towards rejuvenating not just Mopani but also Kitwe and Mufulira, breathing new life into these vital mining hubs,” highlighted President Hichilema. He expressed optimism about the future of Mopani, foreseeing an increase in copper production from 65,000 metric tonnes to an impressive 230,000 metric tonnes.

“We are committed to ensuring that this partnership benefits all stakeholders involved. Our goal is not only to enhance production but also to create more job opportunities, enhance job security, and boost business prospects,” President Hichilema affirmed.

“We express our profound gratitude for the re-launch of Mopani Copper Mines in partnership with our new joint venture partners, International Resource Holdings (IRH) from Abu Dhabi. This moment, long awaited by our citizens, is not a handover but a meticulously negotiated partnership with IRH that represents mutual respect and equitable benefits. Our citizens will retain a 49% shareholding through ZCCM-IH, affirming our commitment to national benefit.

The $1.1 billion investment from IRH marks a significant milestone, being the first substantial investment from the UAE in Zambia, with more expected in green energy and other sectors.

To support our local suppliers, Mopani has initiated a Supplier Development Program aimed at bolstering the capacity of Zambian suppliers by providing access to capital and business development services.

We urge Zambian businesses to draw inspiration from their counterparts in the UAE, who have transformed their economy through astute management of their oil resources,”President Hichilema said

Moreover, the significant reduction of Mopani’s debt from $1.5 billion to $576 million under the UPND administration underscores a commitment to financial stability and responsible management. Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe affirmed, “The challenges plaguing the mining sector are now being addressed, marking a positive turnaround for the country.”

“The partnership with IRH has been met with widespread optimism and support from various stakeholders,” noted Ali Rashid, CEO of IHR. He expressed excitement about the opportunities ahead at Mopani, emphasizing the positive impact the partnership will have on the local economy.

Local leaders, including Copperbelt Minister Elisha Matambo and Mine Suppliers and Contractors Association President Costa Mwaba, voiced hope for increased opportunities for Zambian businesses and workers. “We are hopeful that this partnership will lead to more contracts for local suppliers and create avenues for economic growth,” stated Costa Mwaba.

Amidst this renewal, the call for a commitment to a decent work agenda and the fulfillment of production targets has been reiterated by Mine Workers Union of Zambia President Joseph Chewe. Chief Nkambo of the Lamba Lima Royal Council highlighted President Hichilema’s visionary leadership as instrumental in Mopani’s resurgence.

Charles Sakanya, CEO of Mopani, expressed confidence that the partnership with IRH would enable the completion of long-awaited expansion projects, further propelling the mine’s growth trajectory. “We are entering a new chapter in Mopani’s history, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead,” remarked Sakanya.

Source: Lusakatimes

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