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THE mining sector remains critical to sustainable development of the African continent, President Hakainde Hichilema has said.

President Hichilema in his keynote address at the ongoing Mining Indaba in Cape Town said Africa was blessed with vast mineral resources, which were key drivers of the development agenda.

He said African leaders and partners should take deliberate steps to ensure sustainable development and management of mineral resources.

President Hichilema said these efforts should include building down-stream linkages aimed at promoting value addition and manufacturing.

He said there was also need to create up-stream linkages into mining capital goods, consumables and service industries.

The President emphasised the need for development of supporting infrastructure such as power, logistics and transport, communications, research, technology and development.

Mr Hichilema said aggressive investment into exploration would unlock the undiscovered mineral resources and create enormous socio-economic impact.

The Indaba whose theme was African mining investing in the energy transition, environmental, social and governance economies has attracted South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Mokweegtsi Masisi of Botswana.

Meanwhile, President Hichilema said the new dawn administration was focused in providing an enabling environment for investment and that was already bearing fruit.

He noted that he is delighted with First Quantum Minerals’ announcement of two landmark investments in Zambia, one of them being the US$1.25 billion expansion programme at Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi. President Hichilema said he was hopeful these investments will be the first of many to come and Zambia is inviting more of such through discussions, on the sidelines of the mining indaba.

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