GOVERNMENT has opened talks with Barrick Gold, the owners of Lumwana Mine in Solwezi, to discuss the impasse over the newly introduced royalty tax which all mining firms in Zambia are opposed to.
Acting President Guy Scott confirmed the holding of talks and has since appealed to Barrick management to be very serious on the matter and not to threaten or intimidate the Zambian Government.
“We are talking to them, we are telling them to be very serious and not to try to threaten and intimidate us,” said Dr Scott
Speaking when he addressed a campaign rally in Chililabombwe recently to drum up support for PF presidential candidate Edgar Lungu, Dr Scott said it was important that in those meetings mining firms understood how best Zambia’s mineral wealth should be shared equitably with Government and workers.
Dr Scott challenged the Canadian mining firm to provide accurate information on its operations in Zambia.
“Rest assured that when it comes to the mining business, we know what we are doing. We are discussing with the mining companies on how the money should be shared between workers, Government and the mining firms,” he said.
And Dr Scott has fired a salvo at UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema for suggesting to bring back Anglo-American Corporation in the Zambian mining industry.
“Anglo American left Zambia on their own.
They did not come back during Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda and President Sata’s time. What will bring Anglo-American now?” said Dr Scott.
Barrick Gold has indicated its intention to shut down its Lumwana Mine operations to protest the newly introduced tax.
Meanwhile former republican president Rupiah Banda says there is need for Government to dialogue with owners of mines over the tax regime.
Mr Banda said there was no need for everyone to speak against the mines when there were people in Government that could handle the matter.
He said both the investors and Government were partners in development so there was need to dialogue and come up with a win-win situation.