FIRST Quantum Minerals says it will be difficult for the company to maintain the current work force if ZESCO continues with increased load shedding which has resulted into reduced production, says country manager, General Kingsley Chinkuli.
But Government has disputed insinuations that miners’ jobs are at stake because of Zesco load-shedding saying there has never been a reduction of electricity supply to the mines after stakeholders resolved to give back normal power supply to all the mining companies.
In an interview yesterday, Gen. Chinkuli said FQM has engaged government, the chambers of mines and other stakeholders in a bid to resolve the crisis the mines were experiencing.
He said working together as a team the country would achieve the best results in order to save the economy from collapsing.
Gen. Chinkuli said the continued load shedding was also threatening job security in the mines.
But Energy permanent secretary Emelda Chola said in an interview with the Daily Nation yesterday that Government was not aware of any reduction in power supply in the mining houses which would result into job loses.
“I am not aware of any power cut in the mines. If you want you can get in touch with ZESCO managing director Victor Mundende,” Brigadier General Chola said.
She said mining companies were currently receiving the largest chunk of electricity compared to other consumers in the country.
And Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Chief Executive Officer Steven Din said the mining firm decided to put 133 of its employees on recess because the global copper industry was currently experiencing very difficult business conditions as opposed to reports of load shedding effects.
“The global copper industry is currently experiencing very difficult business conditions. This includes KCM. Our clear objective is to return the company to profitability,” Mr.
Last month, Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma said government would not allow any reduction in power supply to the mines without dialogue with concerned parties.
The decision followed a consultative of which all concerned stakeholders had agreed not to reduce power supply in the mines.
And Zambia Chamber of Mines president Nathan Chishimba said Minister of Labour and Social Security fackson Shamenda had called for a meeting this Friday to discuss labour matters in the mining industry.
Mr Chishimba said it was during the meeting which had been called by the ministry that matters surrounding KCM’s decision to put its 133 employees on recess would be discussed.
And Mr Shamenda said Government had not received any formal notification on KCM’s decision of putting 133 employees on recess. He promised to issue a comprehensive statement once the mining firm availed him with an official notice.