KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE Zambia Chamber of Mines says the countryâ€™s geology shows great potential for further investment in mining, but there is need to create a stable mining policy, international competitive tax rates and an investor-friendly environment.
And a new analysis of mining in Zambia for the last 100 years shows a clear historical link between levels of mining investment and wider economic development that boosted infrastructural development and job creation.
An academic paper published this week, entitled Copper Mining in Zambia – history and future, reveals that when mining investment is sustained, there is growth not just in the sector, but also in the broader economy.
The report, which was availed to the Daily Mail last week by the Chamber of Mines communications manager Talent Ngâ€™andwe, says when mining investment declines, itâ€™s not just the mining sector that is affected, but the entire economy.
The report, which was conducted by Jackson Sikamo, Alex Mwanza and Cade Mweemba, was published in the journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
â€œThe paper identifies three major periods in Zambiaâ€™s history when the levels of investment in the mining industry had a pivotal effect on the fortunes of the country. The first period was in the early 1920s, when mainly American and South African companies invested massively in Zambiaâ€™s first commercial copper mines, jobs were created, infrastructure was built, towns came into existence, and support industries emerged,â€ the paper reads.
It says Zambia had one of the highest gross domestic products in Africa, and that the second period in the early 1970s was when Government nationalised the Zambian mining industry and used its considerable revenues to drive an ambitious development programme.
The paper says the third period was from about 2000 onwards, after privatisation, and that investors poured capital into new machinery, new mining methods and new processing and extraction technologies.
â€œThere was a sudden economic upturn, not only on the Copperbelt but in the country as a whole, with the mining industry as a pivotal contributor,â€ the paper says.
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka