By NATION REPORTER
ENHANCED operations by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) will be a springboard towards the growth of the company and for creating jobs and increasing government revenue, says Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe.
Mr Mwakalombe said Government valued KCM and wanted to see the company grow.
The minister was speaking when he toured KCM operations on Wednesday, on a familiarisation visit.
“The government values KCM and wants to see the company grow. The country’s economy is driven by the private sector and so Government would like to maintain good relations with the sector,” he said.
Mr Mwakalombe said that Government was aware of the challenges KCM was facing and called for dialogue between the company and its stakeholders to find solutions.
He promised to champion the diversification of the Copperbelt economy into agriculture, aided by mining to reduce dependency and pressure on existing mines.
“There is heavy dependence on the mines, which puts them under a lot pressure hence the need to diversify to agriculture in the province. Most youths just supply to the mines and can’t venture into other things,” said Mr Mwakalombe.
And KCM chief operating officer Frank Russo-Bello said his company was committed to the development of the Copperbelt and the entire economy in spite of some cash flow challenges affecting the business.
Mr Russo-Bello said KCM had initiated measures to raise production and improve its cash flows.
“Our focus is to expand and raise production safely to improve cash flows and so we have put in place initiatives such as the Safe 400+ tonnes per day campaign, which is the key driver to raise copper ore production at both the Nchanga and Konkola mines,”
“Other initiatives include explorations for new resources and options to develop open pit mines into underground mines.” Mr Russo-Bello said.
He said KCM appreciated the government’s stance to assist in resolving valued added tax (VAT) refunds, a matter that was receiving attention at top leadership levels of Government and Zambia Revenue Authority.
He also pledged KCM’’s resolve to settle payments to its suppliers.