RB to commission controversial Brazilian Mine project

President Rupiah Banda is tomorrow (Thursday) expected to commission the construction of the Konkola North Copper Project.

Konkola North Copper is owned as a joint-venture by Vale Mining Company of Brazil and Rainbow Minerals of South Africa. Once completed, Konkola North Copper Mine is projected to produce 45,000 tonnes of Copper Concentrate per annum.

President Banda will later tour the Ndola Stadium, which is under construction and visit the Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) trade zone site in Ndola. On Friday, President Banda will visit Ndola Rural in Mpongwe where he will inspect progress on the construction of a High School and later tour the newly tarred Mpongwe-Luansobe Road.

 Inn July this year, Zambia’s largest mine workers’ union said tried to block Brazilian firm Vale’s planned development of a $400 million copper mine because of concerns about its bad labour relations record.

Mine Workers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) President Rayford Mbulu said Vale, which plans to develop the Konkola North copper project, had been involved in a standoff with steel workers in Canada for almost a year and should not be allowed in Zambia.

Mbulu said the 20 million-member International Chemical, Energy, Mining and General Workers’ Union (ICEM) resolved to oppose Vale’s investments worldwide until the company proved that it would respect workers’ rights.

“We don’t want Vale and will campaign against it because of the manner in which it has abused the steel workers union in Canada. Vale is very stubborn,” Mbulu said.

Vale and the union representing striking workers at its Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in eastern Canada last week broke off talks aimed at ending the year-long stoppage, the United Steelworkers said.

Vale Executive Director Eduardo Ledsham said earlier this month the company planned to start producing copper at Konkola North in 2013 in a joint venture with South Africa’s African Rainbow Minerals.

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