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FINANCE and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane says government is working behind the scenes to resolve issues surrounding Konkola Copper Mines (in liquidation) and Mopani.

In an interview, Dr Musokotwane said government was already dealing with legacy issues from existing mines in order to increase mining output.

“In the plan to increase mining output, the government is already dealing with legacy issues from the existing mines. You know when the PF left, they left a big mess in KCM, put it under liquidation, so the output from that mine is obviously adversely affected. Government is working behind the scenes through ZCCM to resolve the issues of KCM. I can’t go into more details because these are delicate issues. Similarly, under PF, Mopani was also left in a limbo, the previous investors Glencore left behind a debt of billion Dollars. So once again that is a problem, if we don’t deal with that all the money coming out from the mines [will go] to service that debt left behind by the PF. There will be no money to develop the mine further so that it produces more copper. So once again this is something that is being done behind the scenes to see how we can get partners so that the mine is properly funded and it can contribute towards copper production,” he said.

Dr Musokotwane said powerful steps were being taken to increase copper production in the country.

“These are very powerful steps that are being taken so that we produce more copper. Look, the Congolese, who 10 years ago were only producing half of Zambia’s copper, today they are producing double that, of what Zambia produces in copper. Hence you see all this money that is [being] thrown around in Congo DRC, because it is from Copper, meaning we are behind. The good thing is that the government is on top of things to resolve all the legacy issues. We have also said that we are negotiating with investors so that there is copper value addition. We have been speaking to investors to say ‘in Zambia, we have an opportunity of turning into a country that makes more of the car engines in the world’, because car engines are moving away from petrol, to electrical motors. So we can actually manufacture most of the car engines of the future. Those are discussions that are underway with investors,” said Dr Musokotwane.



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