Editor's Note

We want more FQMs and fewer KCMs

It is Zambia’s largest mine, and one of the largest private sector employers, but things are not right at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM). In fact, one gets the impression that the mining company could go belly up anytime. Just follow the trail of bad press over the past couple of years! Lack of investments, growing debts to contractors, suppliers and government, recurrent pollution and dissatisfied employees, not to talk of allegations of tax avoidance or evasion, all trademarks of a company only interested in its own bottom line! KCM’s owner, Vedanta Resources of India, has previously suggested that it was milking KCM, and perhaps it is? It is certainly rather sly in its excuses of a difficult operating environment. Profit is, of course, the objective of all companies, but profit is not all. Just look at First Quantum Minerals (FQM) – the owner of Kansanshi Mine and Kalumbila Mine – which manages to make a profit, despite being Zambia’s largest taxpayer, with happy employees and little pollution. Obviously, FQM is not an angel, and KCM is not the devil, and to be fair, the two companies are operating very different mining complexes. Nevertheless, Zambia definitely wants more FQMs and fewer KCMs!


camilla
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly
  • mining

Miner dies at KCM

Rodgers Kapapi, 40, has died in an accident at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Chingola. Kapapi worked for one of READ MORE...
  • government
  • business
  • mining

Israelies to take stake in ZCCM-IH?

Government intends to sell a 17.25% stake in its investment arm, ZCCM-IH, to Sapir Capital of Israel for more than READ MORE...
  • money
  • mining

VAT refunds being cleared

The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) will clear all VAT refunds owed to mines by the end of this year, ZRA READ MORE...
  • mining
  • environment

Mines are polluting

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency has issued compliance orders to eight mining firms on the Copperbelt. Mopani Copper Mines was READ MORE...
  • mining

Vedanta to invest $1bn in KCM

A high-level delegation from Vedanta Resources has met with President Lungu, announcing that Vedanta intends to invest $1 billion in READ MORE...
  • politics
  • government
  • justice
  • money
  • business
  • mining
  • agriculture
  • environment
  • development
  • infrastructure
  • focus

Lungu addresses the nation

President Lungu delivered his second ‘state of the nation’ address to parliament on 17 March. The speech was devoid of READ MORE...
  • mining

Mines to be purged of foreigners

Government this week started shaking up the mining sector by looking into the number of expatriates occupying jobs that could READ MORE...
  • mining

No more casualization at Grizzly

Grizzly Emerald Mine in Lufwanyama has put its over 800 workers on permanent – and pensionable – employment. The miners READ MORE...
  • business
  • mining

FQM refinancing debt

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has offered $2.2 billion worth of Senior Notes, including $1.1 billion 7.25% Senior Notes due 2023 READ MORE...
  • mining

Indonesian dies in mining accident

Antonius Simatupang, an Indonesian pipe-fitter at Kansanshi Copper Mines west of Solwezi, has died after being hit by a launder READ MORE...

This Week’s Exchange

Nic Cheeseman, professor of democracy and international development, Birmingham University, UK, stated:

“Until now, Zambia’s progress under multi-party politics has been quietly impressive. Over the last year, though, things have changed. (…) According to the Conference of Catholic Bishops – one of the most influential bodies in the country – Zambia doesn’t deserve to be called a democracy (…) it has become a dictatorship – or getting there. Many Catholic leaders were seen to be sympathetic to the PF, when it won power under Michael Sata in 2011, so what has changed? This is not the first time that a Zambian president has sought to consolidate his authority by manipulating state institutions. Nor is it the first time that opposition leaders have been arrested, or civil society groups intimidated. In the recent past, these moments of high political tension have often been resolved peacefully, (…) but it’s unlikely that Lungu will cede his quest to remain in office. First, key civil society groups such as the trade unions have been weakened by privatisation, informalisation and unemployment. Second, the Constitutional Court, that’s responsible for interpreting the constitution, was handpicked by Lungu. Third, Lungu’s case is more complicated than Chiluba’s. In 2001, the second president had served two full terms in office and wanted one more. Today, Lungu is arguing that he should be allowed to have a third term because his first period in office did not count, as he was just serving out the final year of Sata’s term. All of this means that Lungu is likely to get his way. (…) Opposition protests are inevitable, as is some civil society criticism. If past form is anything to go by, Lungu’s government will respond with threats and intimidation.”

Ruling PF party deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri reacted:

Cheeseman is nothing but an attention-seeking professor, who thinks he can lecture us about democracy. The people of Zambia spoke through the vote, and their wishes must be respected by all, including Cheeseman. Cheeseman creates the impression that there was a letter authored by all Catholic bishops, which labelled Zambia as a dictatorship. For the record, that was an opinion expressed by the archbishop. (…) It is irresponsible for Cheeseman to compare ours with late President Frederick Chiluba’s third-term bid. The view that the current constitution allows President Lungu to seek re-election (…) is before the courts of law. (…) the PF will respect the outcome of the court system. President Lungu’s good governance record remains solid. It was President Lungu’s administration that took the referendum on the proposed Bill of Rights to the people. (…) it was UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema who campaigned against it. It is President Lungu’s administration, which allowed for the 50%+1 clause in the constitution, the running mate clause, and reduction of presidential powers. President Lungu believes in an independent judiciary. (…) Today, Zambia has a Constitutional Court, something that was unheard of in the history of our nation. While the opposition petitioned the Constitutional Court, President Lungu remained calm until the matter expired. We wish to correct the view that human rights of politicians in trouble with the law are being violated. Citizens, who are also politicians, and on trial, have appeared in court within a week of being charged, and (…) for continued trial. The due process of the law is clearly being followed to the letter. Professor Cheeseman‘s daydream, that Zambia is falling from grace because of HH’s arrest, is a lie. Zambia remains a shining example of democracy not only on the African continent but world over.”