Government has resolved to work with the Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM) in an effort to keep the mines afloat in the face of the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa said government and the mines have decided to come together to ensure the survival of the mining industry.
Speaking at a joint press briefing with Chamber of Mines in Lusaka, Mr. Musukwa said the new relationship between his Ministry and the Chamber of Mines will help safeguard the jobs in the sector.
What is key for us as an industry and Zambia in particular is to ensure that we survive, and under these circumstances am very grateful that the Chamber of Mines have come up with several interventions in order to ensure that operations survive, people should have jobs and that there is no spread of the virus from person to person,Said Mr. Musukwa.
He said mining houses have robust health and safety departments across their operations which are very stringent in managing the issues of safety.
The minister also appealed to miners to remain calm and adhere to measures that both the government and the Chamber of Mines have put in place.
He said this is important because the mining industry employs a huge number of people across the country.
And Zambia Chamber of Mines president Goodwell Mateyo said there was need for increased cooperation with government to avoid further spread of the virus.
Mr. Mateyo said if not checked, further spread of the virus can lead to a significant drop in commodity prices in the country.
The Chamber of Mines will continue to engage the Ministry of Mines and will also liaise and engage the Ministry of Health to share some experiences that the industry has been dealing with in respiratory illness and establish how it can be of help,said Mr. Mateyo
He also added that COVID -19 is not only a health and safety issue but also an economic issue as such, certain measures should be taken to avoid a collapse of the industry and the economy as a whole.
The two also resolved to take a leading role in ensuring that the spread of the virus is kept to minimum levels.