‘Zambians must benefit from their minerals’

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n-bottom: 0.5em”>via Zambia Daily Mail by Online Editor on 5/31/13


PRESIDENT Sata has urged mining companies to work with his administration to ensure that the minerals they exploit benefit Zambians.

Mr Sata said he expects mining companies to comply with all the laws of the country and undertake corporate social investment which will contribute to improving lives in the communities in which they operate.

“This will enhance the investment climate because communities will see the benefits of the exploitation of their resources,” Mr Sata said.

The President said this in a speech read on his behalf by Vice-President Guy Scott during the official opening of the 66th Copperbelt mining, agriculture and commercial show, under the theme mining and agriculture for continued development and prosperity.

Mr Sata also said mining can continue to contribute to national development because some minerals are yet to be exploited.

“Currently, mapping of the nation’s mineral wealth stands at only 52 percent. Industrial minerals such as limestone and clays can be used in the manufacturing of inputs for the construction sector while limestone and phosphate can be used in the agriculture sector,” he said.

Other minerals such as manganese and iron ore are critical inputs for the steel industry.

Mr Sata urged local and foreign investors to take an interest in such minerals, adding that Government will ensure that agriculture and mining continue to contribute to national development and prosperity.

The President is concerned that inadequate infrastructure in energy and communication continues to affect the development of the mining sector.

Government is undertaking projects to increase power generation capacity by 1,500 megawatts by 2015, he said.

On agriculture, Mr Sata said the country has maintained food security despite the reduction in maize production this season as a result of poor rainfall in some parts of the country and the outbreak of army worms.

On maize subsidies, the President said Government has taken measures to reform subsidies so that it can redirect resources to the industry and other sectors of the economy.

“My government will continue to provide subsidies on fertiliser, which will benefit 900,000 farmers next season. However, the contribution of farmers has been revised upwards to K100 and Government will add another K100 as a subsidy,” Mr Sata said.

On livestock farming, the President said Government has allocated KR3 million to the establishment of a livestock breeding centre in Lufwanyama.

Show Society chairperson Bill Osborne said Government must continue to promote foreign direct investment and reduce the cost of doing business.

Mr Osborne said some mines are growing older and they have become more expensive to operate.

“Power supply to the mining sector is unreliable. This has a major effect on copper production. The energy sector needs development otherwise it can hinder all sectors of the economy,” he said.