LABOUR Minister Fackson Shamenda has said some mines are as good as death traps.
Speaking when he visited the Nchanga Smelter at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Mr Shamenda said some mines were paying little attention to safety such that their mines were as good as death traps to the workforce.
He said safety was key to productivity and time loss.
The Minister said the safety standards at KCM were of higher class which other mines in the country ought to emulate.
Mr Shamenda implored KCM to maintain good industrial relations with the employees because the workforce was cardinal in meeting targets.
He said it was imperative to resolve the employer-employee conflicts quickly and amicably so as to enhance relations.
"Human Resource department is very cardinal in every organisation as it deals with humans who cannot be calibrated as compared to machines which can. With humans you have to understand them and find the way forward.
"Government will complement your efforts and replicate some of your achievements in our effort to improve the safety standards in the mines. With other mines the standards are so poor such that in other countries they can be prosecuted and be imprisoned," he said.
He paid tribute to KCM for employing more Zambians at the smelter which he said would enhance manpower development.
He said the Government would still encourage the presence of some expatriates in some key areas for experience exchange purposes.
And KCM Executive Director for Nchanga Nkana and Nampundwe David Ng'andu said the Nchanga smelter had the capacity of producing 300,000 tonnes of copper cathodes every year and 840,000 tonnes of copper concentrates.
Mr Ng'andu said at the moment the smelter was processing copper feeds from other mines such as Lumwana and Kansashi.
He said even then the feed was below the capacity of the smelter.
Meanwhile KCM vice president for human resources and capital management David Kaunda said KCM was committed to developing Zambians to achieve higher skills.
Mr Kaunda said KCM as the highest private employer would endeavour to comply with both safety and industrial relations standards.