Zambia is mining hot spot, says expert

Zambia is a mining hot spot and its political stability and legal framework has made it an attractive investment destination, says Copperbelt Mining Trade Expo and Conference event director Nicole Smith.

Ms Smith said it was for that reason that thousand of mining experts and services providers were expected to gather at this year’s Copperbelt Trade Expo and Conference.

She said the mining trade expo was of great benefit in creating a professional attendance platform that catered for all segments of the mining value chain where suppliers and buyers could link up.

She said last year’s launch of the expo was a landmark event for the Copperbelt region and was a strong signal from the industry that it was a much-needed forum.

“Our message remains that Zambia is a mining hot spot and politically stable; investors are always concerned about their risks and those conversations flare up when laws are set to change,” she said.

Ms Smith said the programme would also focus on a critical pre-occupation for Zambia mining through the creation of Zambian linkages in the value chain for local industry to benefit.

She said given the emphasis on local content and Zambian participation in the mining industry, the event would launch a Zambian SME village on the expo floor, inviting wholly owned Zambian service providers and suppliers to participate more visibly in the event.

Ms Smith said more than 30 companies were expected to participate in the event and cited Mopani Copper Mines, Association of Zambian Mineral Exploration Companies (AZMEC) and the Lusaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry as some of the supporters at the expo.

And Zambia Chamber of Mines president Jackson Sikamo said the Copperbelt Trade Expo would add value to the Zambian investment climate and help in networking  between local small and medium enterprises with international players.

He said Zambia’s mining sector contributed over 70 per cent to the country’s foreign earnings.

Mr Sikamo explained that Zambia needed to reposition herself and continue to attract investment through initiatives such as trade expos and conferences.

“Trade exhibitions, especially with a mix of local and international companies, provide an opportunity to Zambia to help achieve the idea of diversification,” he said.

Mr Sikamo said to demonstrate the importance of mining now, since completion of the privatisation process in the year 2000, the sector had seen more than US$ 12 billion new investments, which have resulted in copper production rising.

He said apart from investing in improving operations of the mines, rehabilitating processing facilities and opening up new mines, significant investment had been made in corporate social responsibility projects such as health, education, and roads rehabilitation as well as agriculture.

He said the projects had assisted communities in alleviating poverty through employment, improving skills and creating opportunities for small and medium entrepreneurs.

Mr Sikamo said the high-level conference during the expo provided wide ranging and resourceful topics, from the new power generation capacity impact on the mining sector to the role of international supply and service companies.

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