By Michael Kaluba
Mopani Copper Mine’s relationship with local mine suppliers and contractors has deteriorated since Glencore left and government through Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings-ZCCM-IH took over the running of the mines as a result of extended delays in payments.
According to the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors, Mopani used to pay local contractors and suppliers within the agreed 30 days under the investor Glencore but has been struggling to pay since ZCCM-IH took over with some invoices going up to 90 days without payments being made.
Association president Costa Mwaba says local contractors are confirming the assumption that when mines are in the hands of Zambians, they cannot perform due to the notable difference between how payments were made
Mr. Mwaba who could not quantify how much both Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines are owing local contractors and suppliers since government took control of both assets, is urging government to unlock the two mines, resolve inhibiting challenges and allow for inflow of cash so that payments can begin to flow.
But ZCCM-IH Acting Chief Executive Officer Tisa Chama has attributed the recent delayed payment of contractors and suppliers to liquidity challenges at Mopani Copper Mines but was quick to mention that an investment banker has been identified and engaged to assess the situation, help raise funds and sort out operational issues at the mine before the end of the year.