Editor's Comment

Increase value from minerals

ZAMBIA’S plans to change the Mines and Minerals Development Act of 2008 so that the country can enhance value addition from the country’s mineral resources are timely.
Although metal prices are enjoying relatively high prices on the London Stock Exchange, the benefits from metal exports are generally considered minimal.
This has prompted calls for the country to revise its regulations and the manner in which mining companies are taxed so that there is increased transparency and more benefits to Zambia.
Some players in the mining sector have been embroiled in debates with the various stakeholders on allegations that they are not paying the right taxes and some are cheating on exports.
This is why we welcome the planned changes to the Mines and Minerals Development Act so that Zambia can increase value addition to its minerals.
Zambia is blessed with abundant minerals with copper production being the engine of the countr’s economy providing about 70 percent of foreign exchange earnings.
According to Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma, government is working on legislation aimed at enhancing value addition to create more employment for Zambians.
The minister said this when he addressed the International Infrastructure and Investment Convention in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday.
We support these planned measures because these will drive the country’s development agenda and curb poverty.
When copper prices plunged in 2008, the country lost out on revenues with some firms cutting down on jobs and now that prices are better, it is time Zambia clawed back some benefits from its natural resources.
Like the minister has said, the changes will make it easier for Zambians to participate in all activities across the mining value chain.
Ensuring that the country gets more value from its minerals entails that value addition is increased and in the process create employment opportunities.
Countries such as Indonesia, Zimbabwe and many others have banned exports of unprocessed ores and in many cases this has led to millions of dollars in planned investments for smelters.
Ultimately this leads to more revenues for governments and creates employment which goes a long way in reducing poverty.
We agree with the minister’s sentiments that Zambians have “toiled” for long without benefiting from the mines, yet mining has been the country’s major economic activity since the 1930s.
With good revision of the country’s mining regulations, we are confident that Zambia will accrue more benefits from the mining sector so that there is a win-win situation.
The planned changes in mining rules are not just happening in Zambia alone, but most countries in the Southern African Development Community have adopted this as a means to reduce poverty.
The revision of legislation in the mining sector is long overdue and the sooner it is done, the better for Zambia to get more value from  the mineral wealth and in the process address challenges of poverty.

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