State, ex-Collum owners in ‘compensation’ talks
BY MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA -
THE Government has engaged former owners of Collum coal Mine in Sinazongwe, Southern Province, over their investments following cancellation of three operating licences early this year.
Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH), acting on behalf of Govertnment, is already negotiating with the Collum Mine management with regard to their complaint over the investments they made in the coal operations.
Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the former Chinese owners of Collum Coal Mine had raised concern to the Government over their investments in the mining company and would like to be compensated following the cancellation of the three mining licences
Mr Mukanga said it was important to note that the previous investors owned the Government statutory obligations and that ZCCM-IH, which was tasked to evaluate the mining assets and its cost implications, had constituted a team of experts to carry out the exercise.
“We are negotiating with the previous Chinese investors because they say they have invested a lot of money in the mining assets and want to be compensated but they also owe us a lot of money in statutory obligations.
“Once we review the assets and how much they owe us, then we are going to either compensate them or not. You must also be aware that the Government has no money to compensate them but we might offer them some shares in the mine depending on the outcome,” the minister said.
In February this year, the Government revoked and took over operations of all the three small-scale mining licences the investors held for failure to comply with the Zambian laws.
Currently, the mine is under care and maintenance, and Mr Mukanga said all the employees are being paid their salaries and assured them that operations would resume soon.
He said the Government, through ZCCM-IH, had the capacity to run and manage the mine and would ensure that the operations commenced soon.