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COPPER PRODUCTION DOWN 5PC

By ADRIAN MWANZA

COPPER production has dropped five percent as of September 2021 due to the difficult circumstances in the last three years, says Zambia Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer Sokwani Chilembo.

Mr Chilembo said on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview last night that the mining industry had been on survival mode and had suspended capital expenditure just to stay afloat which has had consequences. He however said the 2022 budget had given them hope to start delivering the kind of revenue growth the country was expecting.

Mr Chilembo said that he commended the new dawn government for removing the mineral royalty non deductibility tax because firms were forced to pay tax twice. He said countries like Zimbabwe in the gold sector withdrew it because they were not able to reap benefits from it.

He said even Namibia which considered the venture ditched this concept after looking at the experience of Zimbabwe. Countries like Botswana which had a small Copperbelt and lower grade of copper were doing far much better than us. “We have remained still in the last 15 years which has made us miss out on capitalising on the markets,” he said.

He said there was mistrust between government and mine owners which caused a rift in the type of tax regimes because the former thought they were not being factual in their production. Mr Chilembo said that there was need to develop local content and when mining was booming even local entities were growing as was the case in Australia using competitive advantage.

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