22 February 2013

Zambia: Trade Unions Welcome Collum Mine Takeover

Trade unions and several stakeholders have welcomed Government's decision to take over operations of Collum Coal Mine in Sinazongwe.

Mine-workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) welcomed Government's decision to take over the mine in Southern Province.

On Wednesday, Mines Minister Yamfwa Mukanga announced that Government had revoked all three small-scale mining licences held by Collum Mine.

MUZ general secretary Joseph Chewe said Government had taken a good decision to cancel the three licences as there had been numerous complaints from the mine.

"Collum Mine was not keen to follow Government's instructions and the agreement that was made to improve the standards of their services. The company was given enough time in which they could have improved their work standards," he said.

National Union of Miners and Allied workers (NUMAW) national secretary Christopher Silute said the move taken by Government not to take over the running of the mine was good as a lot of workers would have lost their jobs.

"If a mine is not doing fine, it means it's doomed for closure, but Government decided to take over in order to protect the jobs of the workers which is a job well done," Mr Silute said.

Chief Sinazongwe said he was happy that Government had resolved to repossess the Chinese mine because it had on several occasions not heeded to the State's advice to improve on its safety.

Chief Sinazongwe said in an interview that he was happy that Government has taken over Collum Coal Mine and hoped communities surrounding the mine would be happy.

The traditional ruler said Collum Coal Mine had not been paying royalties to the chiefdom through the Maliko Community Development Trust since 2004.

The mine was expected to be paying KR3000 (K3 million) royalties to Maliko Community Development Trust every year.

Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Reverend Susanne Matale was hopeful that the move would act as a deterrent to all investors and other employers who took Zambians for granted because of poverty.

Rev Matale said memories of the 2005 BGRIMM explosion that killed about 50 Zambian workers in Chambishi were still fresh.

"Issuance of mining licences must be further tightened to ensure that only genuine and law abiding investors are considered. Corruption, if any, in the issuance of mining licences should also be checked," Rev Matale said.

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