Chishimba said it was highly unacceptable for Mopani Copper Mines to say that there was a shortage of suitably trained and experienced technical personnel to support the increasing mining activities when investors killed institutions that trained miners.
"I think I need to stress the point that the institutions that were there during the (Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines) ZCCM to recruit and train Zambians in different fields on the mines were killed by the same investors when they were buying these mines," he said. "They (investors) indicated that they didn't want anything to do with any support engineering services department which were under MPD (Man Power Development) that indicated that anything that had to do with these departments, the investors had nothing to do with them. And we actually questioned and warned them that in future these people will want to come to us so that we dance to their tune when they kill these institutions."
He said mine investors should instead apologise to Zambians for removing MPDs rather than give excuses that there was a shortage of skilled manpower in the mines.
Chishimba, who was a miner in the engineering planner department at both ZCCM and KCM, said during ZCCM, each mine was equipped and fully functional with trade schools and highly qualified instructors to run the institution.
"So I blame the mining companies for whatever is happening. This is maybe a ploy to come and give excuses. They knew that these mines will expand and they will need manpower. The graduates from local training institutions used to pass through this system and they were accessed and tested….. These investors just want to bring foreigners to come and take up jobs that can be performed by local Zambians," he said.
He said the government needed to take stock of people and find out if it was really true that the country did not have skills.
"My appeal to the line ministries is that we need to set up and find out to what extent this is impacting our people. Government, through the Ministry of Education, is actually partnering with KCM, who have come on board to refurbish the old trade school; other mines should follow suit. As Callow has indicated that Mopani is building new infrastructure there is already existing infrastructure that was left by ZCCM and it has been abandoned; they should improve on it," he said
Chishimba said other countries were training their own local people and not hiring foreigners adding if there was lack of skilled people in a certain field, the government should be moving in the same direction.
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