THE Zambia Chamber of Mines has welcomed changes to the new 2015 Mines and Minerals Development (Amendment) Act passed by Parliament recently.
ZCM president Nathan Chishimba said given the pivotal importance of the mining industry in promoting long term economic growth, the mining industry supported the ‘‘forward thinking policy shift’’ by Government, which would no doubt bear fruit in the future.
“We are the basket which holds all the proverbial eggs. Working together we have to create a high-growth, diversified economy which spreads risk and opportunities across the economy – creates more jobs and widens the tax base.
‘‘We commend the Government for this new spirit of dialogue and cooperation, and we look forward to continuing to work together to solve these and future challenges,” he said.
Mr Chishimba said the Government’s decision marks a significant shift in outlook towards the sector, and it could only be of benefit to the industry and the economy in the longer term.
He said the gesture by the Government was a ‘‘good lifeline’’ that would provide much needed relief.
He said the industry had ploughed more than US$14 billion into new mining ventures and trebled the country’s annual mining output to around 800,000 tonnes, adding that the mining growth had been key in taking the Government tax revenue from less than K500 million in 2000 to a peak of K8 billion 10 years later.
“The simplicity, stability, predictability, and ultimately the attractiveness of Zambia’s minerals fiscal policy environment and taxation regime, is vital to providing the assurances these investments require, especially given that copper mining in Zambia is a high cost business,” Mr Chishimba.
He said if Zambia was to attract this much needed investment, its mining taxation levels, particularly mineral royalty tax, must at the very least lie within global norms, saying given Zambia’s specific production conditions, many would argue that an even bolder approach was necessary.
Since 2000, on the back of rising copper demand from China, the Zambian copper mining industry has led the nation’s development, spurring GDP growth and helping to achieve annual growth rates of 7 percent to 10 percent.
He said the mining industry was certain that if the country maintained the same momentum as exhibited by the outlook that resulted in the most recent change to the fiscal regime; this should be achievable in the next few years.