Sunday, September 01, 2013

Copper prices at LME hurting local sector - Ground Focus
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Wed 07 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

GROUND Focus Mining says the fluctuating copper prices at the London Metal exchange (LME) have negatively affected copper oxide production by local mining firms.

And the government says it is making serious efforts to find ways of protecting local mining firms in copper oxide production as the industry has potential to create jobs and contribute to economic stability.

In an interview yesterday, company managing director Jimmy Mubashi said Ground Focus, which is one of the major local mining firms in copper oxide production, would only record an average performance by the close of its financial year due to the low demand from the Chinese buyers that were holding on to investment following unstable copper prices at the LME.

He said it would be difficult for the mining firm to reach its target of 4,500 metric tonnes output of copper oxide but it would record slightly above 2,500 which would be an average performance.

Mubashi said the government had a mammoth task of protecting local investment by ensuring that foreign investors, buyers of copper oxide and low grade are not allowed to exploit local mines by dictating the price of the minerals produced locally.

"A lot needs to be done for local mining companies to survive, make profit and create more employment. We have seen a drastic fall in oxide production and on the other hand, the recovery rate has drastically dropped from the normal US$45 per tonne to US$15 dollar per tonne," Mubashi said.

"These are serious issues that need adequate attention because the industry still looks vulnerable and requires protection from the government through a policy directive. This is possible because the investors in copper oxide dictate the price but it should be the government to set a standard while monitoring the performance at the London Metal Exchange."

He further said if the government allowed local mining companies to put up processing plants for copper oxide, it would be easy for such firms to stabilise, fix prices and compete favourably with transnational mining companies.

Mines deputy minister Richard Musukwa recently said the drastic fall in copper oxide production among local mining companies on the Copperbelt from 20 per cent to as low as six per cent was mainlydue to lack of a stable market.

Musukwa said everything possible was being done to avert any possible crisis in terms of copper oxide production among local mining companies.

He said the government was mindful of the fact that the economy could only thrive if local mine investors and entrepreneurs were protected so that they could enhance production.

Musukwa said the government was strongly convinced that local mines had potential to change the face of the mining industry.


MMD harassed traditional leaders for 20 years - Sata
By Roy Habaalu in Mazabuka
Wed 07 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says the MMD humiliated and harassed traditional rulers for 20 years.

During the Lwiindi-Mulembo traditional ceremony of the Tonga-speaking people of chief Hanjalika in Magoye and celebration of 100 years of existence of the tradition, President Sata, represented by justice minister Wynter Kabimba, said the MMD's humiliation of chiefs caused instability in chiefdoms.

"In the last 20 years of the MMD under the guise of democracy, our traditional leaders were harassed, humiliated by their own citizens, causing instability and undermining the authority of traditional leadership. In PF, we believe that there can be no development without chiefs, and we are not going to use chiefs as pawns in our politics. Instead, we shall work with them as partners," President Sata said.

"It's scandalous that 49 years after independence, you have a bad road leading to a chief's palace; it's scandalous that after 49 years, our people have no water to drink; it's scandalous that after 49 years, our citizens are dying of preventable diseases because clinics are far. It's scandalous that 49 years after independence, children can't get enrolled in schools because there are not enough schools," he said.

President Sata said the government would embrace everyone willing to contribute to national development.

He said he was glad that Magoye UPND member of parliament Oliver Mulomba had admitted publicly that the government responded well when he requested for assistance.

President Sata said development was for everyone regardless of political affiliation or tribe.

He said he would work with traditional leaders as partners in development.

"Don't support us for the sake of it. Only support us when we do something for our people, not because we want to remain in power. We are not suffering from the disease of self-preservation. We know we shall not be there tomorrow; even the world will come to an end in the future. Our duty as PF is to ensure that we do the best for all while we are governing this country and this is what will make us remain in power for long," President Sata said.

He said the PF would not betray the aspirations of its people or work against them. Meanwhile, President Sata said district commissioners were superior to council secretaries. President Sata said if district commissioners experienced difficulties in the course of their duty, they should report to the administration.

"I want to make this very clear that district commissioners are appointed by His Excellency the President, and between district commissioners and council secretaries, DCs are senior. So this friction should end. If DCs find a council secretary resisting, report to the administration. We have no time for friction; we have time for development. We lost 20 years of development under the MMD and that loss can only be recovered if we work together and rally behind one President and party, and that party is PF," President Sata said.

Earlier, Kabimba refused to use the dais because it was unAfrican to turn one's back on chiefs.

"I will stand here. I will not use that (the dais) because that's disrespectful for me to turn my back at their royal highnesses, so next time put it in the right position," Kabimba said.

And Kabimba said the proposed law to stop chiefs from being dragged to court was not meant to grant them immunity from prosecution.

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