Zambia Eyes Bigger Role in Running Copper Mines
By Nicholas Bariyo
Zambia's government aims for more of its copper and cobalt mines
to be run by indigenous people and locally-owned companies,
President Edgar Lungu said Friday.
Over the years, Zambia, Africa's second copper and cobalt
producer has developed the capacity to run its mining industry in
an "effective and efficient manner", Mr. Lungu said during a tour
of Vedanta Resources' unit in Zambia's Copperbelt province.
Zambia's state miner, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines
Investments Holdings has been in a protracted dispute with Vedanta
over the mining licenses of Konkola Copper Mines on the Copperbelt.
In 2019, the Zambian government handed over the control of the mine
assets to a liquidator and has been battling the miner in
Copper ore production at the unit has since increased to some
1.7 million tons a year, from 1 million tons, illustrating the
"competence" of the mine's operations, Mr. Lungu said.
"We want to change the mining sector, we have the capacity and
skills to run the mines," Mr. Lungu said. "The price of copper is
going up, so let us work hard,"
Zambia, which became Africa's first pandemic-era sovereign
defaulter last year is seeking greater control of its lucrative
mining industry amid faltering efforts to curb a spiraling $12
billion foreign debt.
The state miner is also in talks with Swiss commodity giant,
Glencore PLC to acquire a majority stake in the company's local
mines after the government turned down a proposal to shutter the
mines due to the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Write to Nicholas Bariyo at Nicholas.Bariyo@wsj.com;
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 08, 2021 04:28 ET (09:28 GMT)
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