SIMON MUNTEMBA writes
THE unsolicited offers to buy off Government’s 20 percent shares in First Quantum Mine (FQM) shows that the mines are a viable economic sector and the State should reject such offers, the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has said.
In an interview, CSPR executive director Patrick Nshindano said the mines were a viable economic sector and the future was bright in Zambia.
Mr Nshindano was reacting to revelation that the First Quantum Minerals Limited had offered to buy the Zambian government’s 20 percent stake in Africa’s biggest copper mine for as much as $700 million.
Recently, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe disclosed that Zambia had received unsolicited offers to buy Governments shares in FQM, but stated that government had not decided on whether to sale and that Cabinet will have to decide.
Mr Nshindano said despite the offers looking lucrative, it was important that Zambia continues to hold shares in the mining sector.
“The offer may look lucrative but it is important Zambia to continue holding shares in the mining sector because such unsolicited offers are an indication that the mines are a viable economic sector and the future is bright,” Mr Nshindano said.
He said, the fact that, some private companies were showing interests in buying government’s shares showed that the mining industry was profitable.
He further explained that keeping the government’s shares would gives Zambia an opportunity to voice out on a number of issues and enable the country to participate in the sector.
Vancouver-based First Quantum already owns 80 percent of the Kansanshi mine in Zambia’s North-Western Province, while state-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc holds the rest.