…..says the mining sector will play a critical role amidst the prolonged drought which has been declared a national disaster

Lusaka… Wednesday March 6, 2024

The consortium of Civil Society Organizations championing for the revamping of the mining sector, has demanded that the government sticks to its promise of handing over Konkola Copper Mines Plc back to Vedanta Resources.

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, Samuel Banda says this will also help the nation amidst the prolonged drought that has been declared a national disaster by President Hakainde Hichilema.

Mr Banda, who is also Advocates for National Development and Democracy (ANDD) Executive Director, has told journalists in Lusaka that as Zambia grapples with the devastating effects of droughts, it is imperative for the government to strategically pivot towards mining development to stimulate economic recovery.

“While the agricultural sector remains vulnerable to climate change-induced challenges, the mining industry stands as a resilient pillar capable of driving growth and stability. As a consortium, we feel that for the mining sector to work, policy and political will should not be procrastinated,” he said.

“We note with concern however the continued delay in the KCM-VEDANTA transition process which has taken a long time considering the urgency of the matter for the dwindling mining prospects and socioeconomic status of the Copperbelt and the country as a whole. The droughts that have inflicted severe hardships on Zambia, jeopardizing food security, livelihoods, and economic stability will therefore require that as a matter of urgency, the government operationalize not only KCM and Mopani but all other mining firms to increase financial capacity and increase chances of meeting the 3 million tonnes copper production target by the year 2030.”

Mr Banda emphasized that with agriculture bearing the brunt of these climatic adversities, the need for diversification and alternative sources of revenue becomes evident as these prolonged droughts will exacerbate poverty and food insecurity, and hinder progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Zambia is blessed with abundant mineral resources, including Copper, Gold, Sugilite, Cobalt, and other valuable mining resources capable of turning the country’s fortunes in our favour. Leveraging the mining sector has the potential to provide a much-needed lifeline during this time of crisis if the Government predictably stabilizes the exchange rate, lowers the cost of living, creates sustainable jobs and empowers suppliers and contractors among many other interventions,” he added.

“As an organization, we therefore demand that the Government concludes the KCM-VEDANTA transition within March as promised by our able Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Hon Paul Kabuswe.”

He since demanded the full operationalization of KCM because stakeholders firmly believes that once this and other strategic Mines start to optimally operate, Zambia’s economy will exponentially grow and cushion against the high cost of living, the anticipated power deficit and the food insecurities.

“Through the mining sector, we feel Zambia can diversify its revenue streams, reducing reliance on vulnerable sectors like agriculture, generating employment opportunities, attracting foreign investment and necessitating infrastructure development, such as roads, railways, and energy facilities, which can further stimulate economic activity,” he stated.

“In conclusion, we strongly implore the government, through President Hichilema to prioritize mining development as a key component of its economic recovery strategy by creating an enabling regulatory framework, promoting transparency and accountability. In the face of drought-induced adversities, Zambia must seize the opportunity to harness its mining potential as a catalyst for economic recovery and resilience.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *