President Edgar Lungu yesterday commissioned Non-ferrous Africa Corporation (NFCA) South-East Ore Body (SEOB) shaft developed at a cost of US$830 million which has extended the mine’s lifespan by nearly 25 years.
Mr Lungu has however, said despite the mining industry showing a positive outlook, it has not stimulated corresponding growth in other sectors and pledged to change the scenario.
The expansion project of the Chambishi SEOB shaft started six years ago.
President Lungu who described the investment as a game changer, said before the privatization of the mine, the Chambishi Mine was on care and maintenance for 13 years but since NFCA took over its running, steady progress had been made.
Mr Lungu said that after privatization of the mines more than $13 billion had been invested in the sector.
He said the investments had however not resulted in corresponding benefits to the local economy due to weak local business linkages and because mining had been taken as a source of Government revenue and not a development catalyst.
Mr Lungu said, however that the Government was working around the clock to change that scenario.
NFCA Chief Executive Officer Zhang Jinjin said the company was committed to continuing with investing in the country because of the good investment climate prevailing.
Mines and Mineral Development Minister Richard Musukwa urged the mining house to engage more local suppliers and contractors for the country to maximize economic benefits from its mineral endowments.
Meanwhile, NFCA has bought Zambia Forest and Forestry Industry Corporation (ZAFFICO)’s 616 housing units in Kalulushi on behalf of sitting tenants.
The mining company has donated US$270,000 to pay for the houses being occupied by the tenants.
Kalulushi Member of Parliament Kampamba Mulenga said that the firm had bought the housing units on behalf of the sitting tenants and the tenants would not spend any money as the required money had been cleared by the mining firm.
She said the donations came after the President’s recent directive that ZAFFICO should sell the houses to sitting tenants.
Ms Mulenga further commended the mining firm for supplementing the Governments effort in developing the district.
She said last week the firm donated K467,000 towards the purchasing of agriculture input and machinery to support small scale farmers in Musakashi area.
By Kennedy Mupeseni and Musonda Mangilashi, Times of Zambia,Thursday, August 23, 2018.