By ZamChro Correspondent,

 

Chinese investors will keep Zambia’s mining sector afloat despite the global economic downturn, the minister of mines and minerals development said in remarks published Tuesday by the state news agency Zambia News and Information Services, or Zanis.

 

Maxwell Mwale said Chinese companies continue to operate normally and have maintained their workforce despite massive layoffs at other copper mines in the country.

 

“The government is urging Glencore to reconsider its proposed course of action in that we have had a precedence set by Anglo American, which upon realizing it was making losses, surrendered its assets to the government,” Mwale said.

 

“In this regard, the government would like to urge Glencore to surrender the assets of both Mufulira and Nkana to ensure continued mining operations and avert disruption to social economic life of our people in the country.”

 

“(The) government cannot allow a situation where the current mine owners want only to manage the operations that are profit making and leave those that are not profit making under care and maintenance,” Mwale said.

 

The global crunch has led to a decline in demand for metals, and forced several mining firms to scale down operations or to shut down their mines in Zambia, where copper mining is the country’s economic lifeblood. Copper mines are a major employer in the country of 12 million people.

 

Mwale also called upon Zambians to stop demonizing Chinese investors, who are accused by unions of having poor labor policies.

 

Mwale added that Chinese investors were investing more money in Chambishi Copper Mine, which had been under care and maintenance for 14 years before they took it over.

 

The mine is being operated by Chinese-owned NFC Africa mining, a unit of China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Co., Ltd. (8306.HK).

 

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