KCM workers complain of job uncertainty

By Staff Reporter


Deshnee Naidoo has taken up the job as the first woman chief executive officer of Vedanta Resources’ Africa Base Metals with some Konkola Copper Mine workers lamenting that a cloud of uncertainty is hovering over one of the continent’s biggest mining operations.


Reacting to a Facebook statement in which KCM was stating that Naidoo’s appointment was a demonstration of Vendanta Resources group’s ongoing commitment to enhancing African operations, some individuals said the Anil Agarwal-owned mining firm was grappling with delayed payment of salaries and had a backlog of arrears to contractors and supplies.


“London, 15 May 2018: Vedanta Resources today announced the appointment of Ms Deshnee Naidoo, as the Chief Executive Officer – Africa Base Metals. Ms Naidoo’s appointment signals the Vedanta group’s ongoing commitment to enhancing its African operations, and will seek to identify and drive synergies across these operations in terms of operational excellence, procurement, marketing, people development, and the investment in communities, in line with the group’s vision of business with purpose,” the KCM stated in part. “Ms Naidoo will combine the leadership of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), in Zambia, and Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), in South Africa and Namibia, as well as Copper Mines of Tasmania.  In this role she will also assume responsibility of Chief Executive Officer, KCM and will drive synergies across ZI and KCM. Ms Naidoo’s appointment coincides with the departure of Steven Din, KCM’s current CEO, who will leave Vedanta group this July.”


KCM indicated that Naidoo joined Vedanta Resources in 2014 with over 20 years’ experience in the resources industry, including platinum, thermal coal and manganese.


“Prior to joining the Vedanta Group, she was Chief Financial Officer of Anglo American Thermal Coal, South Africa. As CEO of VZI she has led the development of the US$400 million Gamsberg Project, which will come into production in mid-2018, as well as the development of the Pit 112 Project at Skorpion Zinc,” the statement reads further. “Chairman of Vedanta Resources, Mr. Anil Agarwal commented,  ‘Deshnee has successfully brought on new production at Gamsberg and won the respect and confidence of the teams that she leads. I’m delighted that we have a woman leader from Africa at the helm of our African operations. We have strong ambitions for our business in Africa and Deshnee is committed to deliver on these.'”


KCM prides itself as one of the most attractive resource assets in the world with potential to reach 400,000 metric tones of integrated copper production in the near term. The Southern African operations have the potential to become one of the largest zinc producing regions in the world, while the investment in KCM will enable Zambia to become the largest copper-producing country in Africa.


Agarwal, according to KCM, also thanked Din for his valuable contribution to Vedanta Resources and KCM.


“We warmly thank Steven for all his valuable contribution to Vedanta and KCM over the last four years, where he successfully steered the business through one of the major copper price slumps.  He enhanced the safety culture and initiated a programme to transform KCM and aligned the workforce to Vedanta’s vision to produce 400,000 tonnes Copper,” Agarwal is quoted as saying. “I wish him every good fortune and thank him for his services to Vedanta, KCM and to the communities in the Copperbelt and Zambia. Steven’s departure from KCM creates the opportunity for Deshnee to step into the CEO – KCM role whilst the larger Africa role enables more collaboration and synergies across the continent and Southern Africa.”


But the contractors and workers had a different opinion over Din’s departure and Naidoo’s coming into KCM:


Robert Nzowa: I hope that your coming to KCM will bring in a sigh of relief. We have reached a point where workers don’t know what will happen tomorrow. The cloud of uncertainty hovers our KCM. Please find time to talk to us in the IBUs and hear for yourself.


Felix Kadansa: She is welcome but let her work on the issue of late payments to contractors. It’s now or never.


Sydney Paul Mutale: Payment 3 years.


Emmanuel Phiri: Welcome mama, am sure things maybe okay unlike Mr… who never cared about the poor hard working Zambian people, try by all means mama talk to workmen not those big people, they mislead you also…thank you…


Pelani Shi Elise Chilufya: Meanwhile our business partners CMC employees at 3 shaft have not been paid their April salaries up to now… are we safe?


Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) is one of the leading integrated copper producers in Africa, and aims to become a major global copper producer. KCM is primarily engaged in the exploration for, mining, production and sale of copper and copper by-products and is currently one of Zambia’s largest private sector employers with over 13,000 employees.


The state-owned mining company Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) is the other shareholder in KCM, controlling a 20.6% stake in the company.