Cabinet approves mineral royalty tax changes

Barrick Gold's Lumwana mine
Barrick Gold's Lumwana mine

Cabinet has approved changes to the Mineral Royalty Tax regime after extensive consultations with the mining industry that will be subsequently presented to parliament for final approval.

Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Amos Chanda told journalists at State House last evening that President Edgar Lungu has since directed the ministers of Finance and Mines respectively to bring to Cabinet next Monday details of the changes that will be presented to Parliament for approval.

Mr Chanda said the changes to the Mineral Royalty Tax are as a result of significant changes in the fundamental assumptions on which the law was based, coupled with the sudden decline in the price of copper on the international market.

He said the budget approved by parliament was based on the assumption that the price of copper was going to be US$ 6,780 per tonne but that this has instead reduced to US$5,665 while copper production has dropped to 839,000 tonnes from the anticipated peak of 959,696 tonnes.

Mr Chanda added that the changes to the Mineral Royalty Regime will have revenue implications that require rationalization of expenditure, which the ministry of Finance has been directed to present to Parliament.

He said President Lungu has also directed the Technical Committee he appointed to look into the challenges that arose from the Mineral Royalty Tax regime to continue with consultations with stakeholders to ensure a robust and predictable mining tax regime.
Mr Chanda added that all administrative and legislative procedures to effect the changes will be completed before the next Cabinet meeting.

He said President Lungu hopes the changes will eliminate market anxieties in the mining sector as well as bring about stability.