KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) has continued to invest in its mines to increase copper production despite being owed US$100 million in value added tax (VAT) refunds.
Since 2014, some mining companies decided to put projects on hold due to a dispute over VAT rule number 18, that required companies to show documentation from a country where goods are being exported.
The regulation has since been amended, but Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) still owes mining companies in VAT refunds.
In an interview last Friday, KCM chief executive officer Steven Din said the company has started utilising part of the US$ 1 billion investment pledge that was announced by Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal when he met President Lungu last March.
“Within three years, KCM intends to increase copper production from the current 150,000 tonnes to over 300,000 tonnes per annum. So far, US$ 200 million has been spent on engineering works, deepening the [open] pits and optimising operations at the leach plant and Konkola deep.
“We are happy to see stability in the mining policies, we are also happy to see changes that have been made to mineral royalty tax regime. Also VAT refunds regulations have been revised, but we are still owed US$ 100 million,” he said.
He said KCM will continue making investments and developing new projects.
“KCM is an asset and not a liability to the Zambian economy. Our mine’s lifespan is over 50 years and we intend to make the company a great one, with a motivated workforce.
“The company is an important economic player and it is incumbent upon KCM to be responsible in its operations. We believe that people are important to KCM hence we strive to be transparent to ensure progress in our endeavours,” Mr Din said.