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Trouble for Copper Mines as Power Cuts Hit Hard

The Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement has raised alarm over the precarious situation faced by communities in Chingola and Chililabombwe as Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) operates below capacity amidst ongoing load shedding.

According to Movement Coordinator Chishala Mwamba, the combination of KCM’s reduced operations and eight-hour daily load shedding spells disaster for the local economy. Mwamba emphasized that a significant portion of the workforce is either on leave or unemployed, with many young individuals bearing the brunt of the crisis.

“Thousands of unemployed young people have resorted to running small businesses while awaiting the conclusion of the KCM-Vedanta transition process. However, even these small enterprises are threatened by the effects of load shedding,” stated Mwamba.

He highlighted the potential rise in crime rates and the already dire economic conditions plaguing the region. With high unemployment rates, sluggish business activity, limited cash flow, and soaring inflation, the addition of load shedding exacerbates the situation, posing a significant challenge to community stability.

Mwamba expressed optimism in the commitments made by the Minister of Mines, Hon. Paul Kabuswe, regarding the conclusion of the Creditors Scheme of Arrangements by the end of the month.

He stressed the importance of Vedanta’s substantial investment commitments in revitalizing the communities, including asset recapitalization, payments to suppliers and contractors, and annual contributions to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

“The present combination of load shedding and the precarious state of the mine threatens to devastate our communities entirely. It is a recipe for economic disaster, especially for the youths. Urgent government intervention is imperative to mitigate these challenges,” Mwamba urged.

Local residents echoed Mwamba’s concerns, emphasizing the need for immediate action to prevent further economic decline and alleviate the hardships faced by the community. The looming crisis underscores the importance of swift and effective measures to safeguard the economic well-being of Chingola, Chililabombwe, and the broader Copperbelt region.

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