Mines Minister Richard Musukwa has directed Mopani Copper Mine to immediately stop giving miners the food supplement aimed at increasing their energy levels as the mine prepares to increase the working hours from 8 to 12 daily.
Speaking in an interview today, Mr. Musukwa said he has directed the Director of Mine Safety and Environment at Mopani Copper Mines to immediately stop giving the high energy supplement and to further remove it from the mine premises.
He said all food staffs given to the miners must be certified fit for consumption and free from any side effects.
“Looking at the side effects that miners are experiencing, I am sure the food was not certified to be fit for the miners,” he said.
He charged that it was unacceptable for the mine management to introduce food supplements aimed at boosting the energy levels of miners with a view of making them work for twelve hours instead of eight.
Government was disappointed with Glencore, the mother company to Mopani for giving miners a highly charged energy food supplement instead of focussing on sustaining the mine, added the minister.
He urged Mopani to conducts its operations within the confines of the law.
On Tuesday this week, Miners at Mopani Copper Mines complained that they were being forced to take the food supplement called Future Life High Energy Nutrient Dense which they said was boosting their sexual drive and causing them insomnia.
And in response to the Miners’ complaints, Mopani Copper clarified that the mine was not forcing the miners to take the food supplement explaining that those who are not comfortable with the food have an option not to take it.
In a statement release to ZANIS in Kitwe today, MCM public relations manager Nebert Mulenga also clarified that the mine is not conducting clinical trials as alleged by workers but an assessment of the food supplement which would be preferred by the miners.
Mr. Mulenga said the mine is looking at introducing various food items with high nutritional benefits to give to the miners as it plans to introduce a twelve hour shift operation.
He further explained that there are several varieties of high nutritional foods which are currently being used by mines in Zambia and South Africa adding that they are also available in all leading super markets in the country.
He said the on- going process should not be construed as clinical trials as the product has already been scientifically certified as effective energy foods.