By ZamChro Reporter
Glencore International AG, one of the equity partners with the Zambian Government in Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) has informed Zambian Authorities of their intentions to close Mufulira mine and place Nkana Division under maintenance effective April 14th, 2009.
The move was prompted by falling commodity prices on the world market but Mines and Mineral Development Minister Maxwell Mwale has insisted plans would not go ahead because legal procedures had not been followed.
The Zambian Government had earlier intimated that should the other equity partners decide to close the mines, it would insist on taking over all operations single handedly to save 1,400 jobs from being lost.
However, it remains to be seen if this would be a viable option for the government which seemed to intimate the same in the case of Luanshya mine earlier in February this year. President Rupiah Banda mentioned then that his administration would take over Luanshya operations only to back paddle two weeks later.
The Mines Union of Zambia (MUZ) has been urging government to consider taking over falling mines in the country whose main stay is copper production. The Zambian Enterprise is Africa’s largest producer of copper and the commodity accounts for 63% of its foreign earnings.
Meanwhile, President Rupiah Banda has expressed confidence in the vibrancy of the Zambian economy despite the global impasse. Speaking earlier in the week on Tax Payers Appreciation Day, the President urged Zambians to continue contributing to national development by paying taxes.
Conversely, diversification seems to be the only viable option for the country endowered with so many natural resources with skilled manpower per capita compared to the rest of the continent and yet its ranks low when it comes to wealth per capita.
The country has great potential in other areas such as electronics, manufacturing, construction, tourism and agriculture just to mention a few.
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