Matero Reforms of 1969

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In 1969, the Matero reforms were announced, which gave the government 51% ownership of the mines, managed under Mining Development Corporation (MINDECO). Thus began the era of mining nationalization, which was completely effected by 1973.[1]


Nationalization of the Zambian mines began with the Matero declaration of 1969, when the government obtained a 51% shareholding in the then two existing mining companies. These were Roan Selection Trust and Anglo American Corporation, which owned all the operating mines in the country between them. Prior to the Matero declarations, the government had issued the Mulungushi declarations, under which 51% of the shares in all the major industries (except mines) were put in state hands. This led to the formation of INDECO as the holding company for these shares.

The Matero reforms resulted in the formation of a holding company for the mines’ shares to be called MINDECO. An umbrella company for MINDECO and INDECO was formed and was called Zambia Industrial and Mining Corporation (ZIMCO).

Roan Selection Trust became Roan Consolidated Copper Mines (RCM), comprising Mufurila, Luanshya, Chibuluma, Chambishi, Kalengwa, and Ndola Copper Refinery. The Zambian arm of Anglo American Corporation became Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines (NCCM) and was in charge of Rhokana, Nchanga, and Konkola mines.

The Matero reforms were implemented in January 1970 and the government was to pay for those shares over a period of roughly 10 years (SARPN, 2015). However, in 1973, the government decided to redeem all the outstanding bonds and made the following changes in the management structure. MINDECO was no longer in charge of RCM and NCCM, but other small mines in the country. INDECO, MINDECO, RCM, and NCCM all fell under the management of an overarching parastatal Zambia Industrial and Mining Corporation (ZIMCO). All the managing directors of RCM and NCCM as well as the chairman of ZIMCO were political appointees. The Minister of Mines was the chairman of RCM, NCCM, and ZIMCO. In the same year, the country changed its constitution and became a one-party state.[2]

See also