THE Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) says the challenges facing the mining sector are temporary and they arise from changes in the supply and demand chain on the international market.
ZCCM-IH chief executive officer Pius Kasolo said the slump in copper prices on the international market is a routine economic trait which is not permanent but comes as a result of changes in the demand and supply chain.
What happens is that if China is not buying our copper, the mines reduce on production. At a certain point, when all the copper on the market is consumed, there will be high demand for the commodity and the prices will definitely go up. So what is happening in the mining sector in Zambia is temporary,
Dr Kasolo said.
He was speaking in an interview in Kitwe on Tuesday during a ZCCM-IH discussion forum dubbed ‘Share sale down promotion’.
ZCCM-IH is selling shares to members of the public at a share price of K38 per capital share.
Dr Kasolo projected that the price of copper on the international market is likely to improve in the next six months and appealed to Zambians to have confidence in the mining sector.
He said the mining sector still remains viable with mining activities still taking place in the North-Western Province.
Dr Kasolo said Zambia has plenty of copper ore deposits which are yet to be explored by investors willing to invest in the mining sector.
The North-Western Province will soon become the Copperbelt of Zambia. There are exploration works that are currently taking place here in Zambia for other minerals as well including gold, so our mines are still viable,
Dr Kasolo also said ZCCM-IH is capable of managing the mining sector should Government decide to take ownership of the mines.
He, however, said if ZCCM-IH has to take over the operations of the mines, it means the investment holding has to also inherit the huge debts accrued by the mine owners.
If President Lungu today tells me to be in charge of the mines, I can manage to run them, after all these mines are managed by Zambians,
Dr Kasolo said ZCCM-IH has the skills and expertise required to operate the mines effectively for the Zambian people.
And speaking during the forum, Dr Kasolo appealed to Zambians to buy shares in ZCCM-IH because it is diversifying its activities to include the agriculture and energy sectors.
He also assured Zambians that their investments will be protected should they choose to buy shares in ZCCM-IH.
Dr Kasolo said priority in buying shares has been given to Zambians for ZCCM-IH to be locally owned.
He appealed to Zambians to quickly buy ZCCM-IH shares before the promotion ends on November 30 this year.
And KELVIN CHONGO reports that mining expert Matheus Mphande has urged Government to consider value addition to copper as a way of protecting jobs in the mining sector.
“The only way we can develop the country is to get into processing of copper into copper wires, pipes and manufacturing of motor vehicle parts,” he said.
“With these plans in place even when copper prices fall at the London Metal Exchange, the economy will still remain strong,” he said.
Dr Mphande said many countries have no copper deposits and that Zambia must take advantage by getting into cooperation with countries like China, India or South Africa to set up a copper processing plant.
Dr Mphande said even South Africa, which manufactures cars such as Isuzu and Toyota, has no copper deposits and it would be appropriate for Zambia to enter into an agreement to supply finished copper products specifically for vehicle manufacturing.
Dr Mphande also said mine owners should stop importing lime but buy the locally produced one.
Copper at the London Metal Exchange was trading at US$4,525 per tonne yesterday.