……after Luanshya copper mines refuses to surrender Black Mountain
– Another bitter controversy coming
Government has opted to offer the old Chonga and Akatiti tailings dams after Luanshya Copper Mines refused to surrender the black mountain claiming that the mine was using the slag from the back mountain to prolong the lifespan of Baluba mine. Baluba Mine has a lifespan of about 3 years and is scheduled to wind up operations by 2021. But with construction of the slag reclamation plant to treat the slag from the old dumps, Baluba Mine lifespan will be extended for another 5 years. Luanshya Copper Mines has been treating slag from the black mountain since April 2014. The Chonga and Katiti tailings dams, located near Roan section 1 township contain material from the old Luanshya Concentrator.
Meanwhile the Chinese ambassador has complained to State House that criminals masquerading as PF youths have continued disrupt and jeoparding operations at Luanshya Mine concentrator located near Roan section 3.
The ambassador revealed that well known criminals have continued to disrupt operations at the mine and whenever they are arrested and detained by Zambia police, senior Government officials have always ordered the police to release these criminals. The ambassador disclosed that early this year the same criminals stormed the mine in broad daylight and claimed that the DC had advised them to seek audience with the CEO. The ambassador requested the government to clearly state its policy on private property because there was a perception created now in the mining industry that government was grabbing private property. You cannot tackle youth unemployment by grabbing private property and giving it to a few selfish individuals.
The ambassador said that the asserts which China Nonferrous Mining Corporation (CNMC) bought from Enya Holdings in 2009 are clearly stated in the sale and purchase agreement and there is no dispute whatsoever. The 2 slag dumps are clearly listed as part of the sale and purchase agreement. What is not in the agreement are the 2 tailings dams namely Chonga and Katiti and most government officials have been confusing the slag dumps with the tailing dams; the 2 are not the same. The 2 slag dams together with the 3 de commissioned shafts namely shaft no. 14, 18 and 28 were all part of the assets CNMC bought from ENYA holdings BV.
The assets which were not part of the transaction were clearly stated and even now they are not owned by the Mine. These include the Golf Club, Makoma Dam, The hotculture club, the pony club, some institutional houses, surface Locomotives etc.
The 2 tailings dams were previously co owned by the office of Administrator General and ZCCM IH but were transferred to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit under the office of the Vice President after they were re classified as potential disaster owing to continuous de-silting.
Sources at the Ministry of Mines have disclosed that Luanshya Mine, through the Chinese ambassador presented a detailed report to State House on how the mine came up with the plan to prolong the lifespan of Baluba Mine. The plan, which had earlier also been presented to then minister of mines Christopher Yaluma in 2013 and copied to then minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda, indicated clearly that the mine had set up a slag reclamation plant at its concentrator and would commission it in June 2014 in order to help prolong the lifespan of Baluba mine.
“You know that the youths have been pushing for the black mountain in Luanshya, obviously because of what happened in Kitwe, but it is difficult in Luanshya because first of all the Chinese have proved that the black mountain belongs to the legally, they provided the sale and purchase agreement and it was kind of embarrassing because the ministers who visited the mine in February had briefed the president and told him that the ownership was not clear”, said the source.
Meanwhile a report by the Office of the President (OP) has revealed that politicians and some members of parliament on the coperbelt are using poor youths to agitate for the grabbing of slag dumps from mining firms and once the dumps are grabbed, the youths do not benefit anything. The report by the OP also confirms that the 2 slag dumps in Luanshya legally belong to CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines as confirmed by the sale and purchase agreement.