By Michael Kaluba
Southern African Resource Watch-SARW- Senior Research and Advocacy Officer Edward Lange has warned that government's failure to view investment plans filed by various mining corporations with caution could result in sustained job losses in the subsector.
First Quantum Minerals-FQM- recently revealed plans to lay off a portion of its workforce beginning next month after deciding to streamline its business operations, slightly more than a year after its board authorized plans for a $1.25 Billion expansion of the company's kansanshi copper mine in Zambia.
Mr. Lange, however, believes that much of the $1.25 Billion investment proposed by FQM last year is in the form of equipment and technology, which may replace some personnel, necessitating a comprehensive evaluation of the investment plans at the government submission level.
Mr. Lange tells Phoenix News that while Zambia must deal with the emergence of advanced mining technology, stakeholders such as the Zambia Chamber of Mines and government must strike a balance in order to save jobs.
He has wondered whether government, as a regulator, was aware of these job losses, and if the state should intervene to avert the impending redundancies in a sector that contributes significantly to Zambia’s GDP and is a major foreign exchange earner.