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 Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly