International

Zambia leader wants more local control over mines

President Edgar Lungu has called for increased local control over the ownership of mines in the country.

Mining is the backbone of the southern African nation but most mines are owned by foreign firms.

Mr Lungu, who is visiting the Copperbelt region, said this must change.

“We will ensure to safeguard our sovereignty in the mining sector. The mining sector should change and for the better,” he wrote on Facebook.

“I refuse to believe that Zambians cannot run the mines. One day we must have the mines being run by Zambians. We can do it”

In 2019, the Zambian government placed Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), owned by India-based group Vedanta, under liquidation.

But the Court of Appeal ordered in November a halt to the liquidation to allow for arbitration. Mr Lungu insists that “chapter is closed”.

“I’m happy that some of the operations that had closed down here at KCM have been brought back to life. I’m proud,” he added.

“I have stated that no amount of intimidation will make government change its position on the KCM issue.”

Zambians will vote in August to elect a new parliament and president. Mr Lungu will be seeking a second and last term.