*Shut Down at Mopani!*
Lusaka. 20.06.2019. 09.00 Hours.
The shut down of the smelter at Mopani Copper Mines MCM Mufulira division for six months is unprecedented.
In normal mining operations, a routine shut down of such a facility is supposed to take between one to two months.
As a party, we want to know why the latest shut down will be unnecessarily too long.
This unplanned maintenance schedule has caused a lot of anxiety among miners.
As NDC, we demand a full report from MCM management on assertions that the smelter at Mufulira is dilapidated and has broken down.
We are informed that this dilapidation has been caused due to none maintenance of the state of the art facility.
It is shocking that such a huge investment erected at a cost of over 500 million United States dollars only four years ago could break down.
We have a number of questions for MCM management.
Could it be that the material used in erecting and maintaining the smelter where if sub standard?
Or, could it be that MCM management concentrated on maximizing profits and neglected to maintain the smelter?
These are serious questions that need to be answered by Mopani.
As a party, we are worried that the shut down will see hundreds of employees at both the concentrator and smelter being sent on forced leave.
In this regard, we urge MCM management NOT to place the affected workers on half pay as is being speculated.
The miners to be sent on forced leave should be entitled to full pay including all their allowances.
The unscheduled plant shut down at MCM Mufulira division has been caused purely by negligence on the part of management.
Whilst we agree that the maintenance of the smelter will improve and enhance productivity, the long unplanned shut down is suspicious.
As NDC, we want to urge unions in the extractive sector to ensure that no miner working at the smelter is fired at MCM during this period.
The unions on the other hand, should further ensure that they explain to their members what this shut down is all about.
There is currently a lot of speculation in Mufulila on the latest shut down.
Most miners do not have information on what rely is obtaining at the mine.
Issued by: *Hon. Joseph Chishala NDC Chairperson Labor and Roan Mp.*