EIZ cautions over KCM shortcomings

By Staff Reporter

THE Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) says numerous shortcomings that besieged Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) must not be overlooked if the viability of the mining operation under the next investor is to be assured.
Briefing journalists at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka yesterday, EIZ president Sydney Matamwandi said the Institution had keenly followed the developments at KCM.
Matamwandi noted that after extensive consultations with its senior members: “who have extensive hands-on experience in mining,” the EIZ identified six serious shortcomings with the mining operations under the control of KCM.
Matamwandi named the six “serious” shortcomings as mine dewatering, development of reserves, capitalisation of plant and equipment, skills transfer and development, management and operational organisation and the Konkola Deep Mine Project (KDMP).
On mine dewatering, for instance, Matamwandi indicated that the process was an essential aspect in mining.
“[But] the available evidence indicates significant negligence of this operation by the mining company (KCM). The threats and consequences of this omission are detrimental to the mining operations as well as to safety,” Matamwandi said, adding that there was a serious backlog in the development of reserves at KCM.
“The consequence of this backlog has been a shortage of ore and feed into downstream operations, especially the smelters.”
On the capitalisation of the plant and equipment at the Vedanta Resoruces-owned mine, Matamwandi observed that, to a large extent, there was obsolete equipment, resulting into inefficiences, high time and low output.
He lamented that KCM neglected skills transfer and development while heavily depending on expatriate personnel.
“This approach is unsustainable to the mine and the country at large,” he noted.
On the KDMP, Matamwandi explained that KCM neglected to complete the project, “resulting into serious shortage of feed into the smelter.”
“The completion of this project would have added significant value to the mining company while creating sustainable employment for our citizens. The current situation is regrettable,” said Matamwandi.



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