Friday, June 03, 2011

Royal family member decries Lumwana sale

Royal family member decries Lumwana sale
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 03 June 2011, 08:20 CAT

A member of the Kapijimpanga royal establishment says President Rupiah Banda’s government has no respect for the people of North Western Province for allowing the 100 per cent purchase of Lumwana mine by Canada’s Barrick Gold.

Davies Kapijimpanga said it was wrong for the government to allow the transaction that will see the total purchase of Lumwana Copper Mine by Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada as part of the takeover of Equinox Minerals Limited.

“This issue is worrying us as a people coming from the North Western Province. The fact that government has surrendered even the little shares it had in Equinox Minerals shows that the new owners will just come with impunity,” Kapijimpanga said.

“And this irresponsible government is not concerned about our welfare as a people of North Western Province. If this happened in other provinces, this government would have been running about trying to make amends. But because it involves the North Western Province, it’s business as usual.”

He said times had changed and people from that region were alive to the political wind of change.

Kapijimpanga said there was no way a government could relinquish even the small shares it held in the mining company.

“What if Barrick Gold Corporation says we have no need for these employees, therefore we will fire all of them? What will be the benefit of the local people in that area? Already there are no benefits, so shall we just continue to give away our minerals for free?” he asked.

Kapijimpanga said Solwezi Council was not benefiting, as it should from the mining sector.

“Solwezi is supposed to be the richest town in the country because Zambia has been rated the second-biggest mining nation in the world. Solwezi should be collecting about US$15 million annually from the mines, considering the huge profits Kansanshi and other mines make,” said Kapijimpanga.

“We should also revisit the issue of cultural and heritage rights. The government of Australia drew up a charter to respect natives in areas with minerals. For example that government has recognition for the heritage and cultural rights of the Aborigines and they get a percent from the mining sector; we can do the same. I appeal to opposition Patriotic Front president Michael Sata to look into this when he comes into power so that we are not continually ripped off.”

Last week the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) granted final conditional authorisation to the proposed acquisition of 100 per cent shareholding of Equinox Minerals Limited by Barrick Gold Corporation.

CCPC said the approval was on condition that the mining giant honours the subsisting agreements that Lumwana Copper Mines had entered into with the local smelter, local suppliers to the mine and other third line industries.

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