Government has re-assured the nation that Barrick Gold mining company has pledged to continue its operations in Zambia contrary to earlier reports that it was contemplating shutting down.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda disclosed this development in parliament when he issued a ministerial statement in Lusaka today saying the decision follows the government’s fruitful discussions with mining firm.
Mr Chikwanda said government’s policies are aimed at benefiting the Zambian people.
He said the Canadian mining giant has so far invested US$400,000 of which direct and other jobs have been created in the mines.
The minister said government would not allow the jobs loss in the mining sector in the North-western and on the Copperbelt provinces including any other part of the country.
On Monday this week, President Edgar Lungu said the Government would explore other measures of operating Lumwana Mine should Barrick suspend its operations.
Barrick-Lumwana Mining Company is confident that the outcome of negotiations with Government over mineral royal tax would be favourable to allow the mine continue operating.
Barrick-Lumwana had last week indicated that it would suspend operations at Lumwana following Government’s decision to uphold the revised mineral royalty tax for open cast mines which was increased from 6 per cent to 20 percent this year.
However, the Canadian mining giant on Monday evening said it was in the interest of all stakeholders that the mine continued to operate on a sustainable basis hence the engagement with Government.
And Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba says Zambia cannot continue to lag behind but attract foreign exchange inflows in the country.
Mr Kalaba in a ministerial statement in parliament today defended President Edgar Lungu’s foreign travels saying he is opening the country’s doors economically.
The minister said presidential travels lifts Zambia’s flag high to the international community in accordance with Zambia’s revised foreign policy launched in October last year.
Mr Kalaba said President Lungu scrutinizes every international trip when invited but only takes those beneficial to Zambia, adding that relevant people including journalists are found in the presidential travels abroad.
“Mr Speaker Sir, President Lungu is Zambia’s number one diplomat and flies the flag high as Zambia pursues her national agenda,” Mr Kalaba said.
He disclosed that Zambia has benefited from President Lungu’s foreign travels since assuming office last month.
Mr Kalaba who has been in each trip the Head of State has undertaken abroad said President Lungu has so far held fruitful bilateral talks with his counterparts in Angola, Congo DR, Egypt, Kenya, Malawi and Ghana.
Others included Ethiopia, South Sudan and the recent visit to South Africa where some investors have shown interest to come to Zambia following his presidential trips.
The Foreign Affairs Minister told the house that President Lungu has not departed from the late Michael Sata’s legacy but he is keenly following his footsteps and continues the good works.