By KALONDE NYATI and NKOLE CHITALA MULAMBIA
VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott has warned mining firms against interfering with Zambia’s regulatory environment.
Dr Scott cited Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) as one such firm which is allegedly boasting about the money it is making in Zambia.
The Vice-President said this at the on-going Zambia International Mining and Energy Conference and Exhibition (ZIMEC) in Lusaka yesterday.
The exhibition’s theme is ‘Securing Zambia’s growth by ensuring sustainable development of its mineral and energy resources’.
He, however, said that the country has continued to post very high economic growth rates which generally attract investors to the market.
Dr Scott also said Government stabilised the exchange rate, which was volatile a few weeks ago, as a result of falling copper prices on the London Metal Exchange.
“The exchange rate has a strong link to the growth of mining. The Kwacha has stabilised.The local currency is predicated on the price of copper, so when it jumps, the exchange rate jumps, too,” he said.
And Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma has reiterated that Government has no intention of nationalising the mining industry as it has performed better after privatisation.
“Mining is in private hands and the mines will never go back to the hands of Government, so do not fear when some sectors of society say Government plans to nationalise the mines because we all know the reasons the mines were privatised,” he said.
The minister said the mining industry has performed well since privatisation with production last year hitting over 755,000 tonnes.
Annual copper production is projected to reach about 1.5 million tonnes in the next two years owing to increased expansion activities in the mining industry.
Mr Yaluma said Government remains committed to ensuring the growth of the mining sector as demonstrated in initiatives such as local business development, which is aimed at enhancing local content and integrating local firms into mining.
Government is also reviewing the policy and regulatory framework to align it to international practices and enhancing and monitoring of the mining industry in an effort to enhance transparency and develop confidence among sector players.
“Government is developing reliable systems that will be used to monitor Zambia’s mineral value chain from production to export.
“We will put in place mechanisms to ensure that right from the exploration, mining, processing and export, we must have full data to depend on,” he said.
Mr Yaluma also said Government is undertaking massive power expansion projects that will support economic activity arising from mining.
Earlier,Chamber of Mines in Zambia president Emmanuel Mutati said mining companies have since privatisation invested about US$8 billion in mining projects mainly in new and expanded projects in North-Western and Copperbelt provinces.
Mr Mutati also said mining companies remitted taxes of about K6.6 million to Government in 2012, an increase from K1 million remitted in 2008.
He called for continued dialogue among stakeholders to enhance the growth of the mining industry.
“There is need for proper liaison among mining companies, Government and the communities to ensure full benefit for all,” Mr Mutati said.
Zambia Daily Mail