Zambia to enforce import tax on copper

05 Feb 2019

copperZambia is working towards fully implementing 5% copper import duty in an effort to maintain a larger of share of mineral resource profits and tackle Zambia’s debt, Mining Minister Richard Musukwa said on the sidelines of the Indaba mining conference in Cape Town.

The conference allowed government ministers and mining executives to negotiate ways in which they could attract investment and find a balance between resource-holding governments and foreign companies, Reuters reports.

Vedanta, a global diversified metal and mining company, announced that it would put an end to its operations in the country – while Barrick, a second mining company, said it was navigating the options.

Musukwa stated that he was willing to discuss with international miners, adding that Zambia – being Africa’s second largest copper producer – would maintain its standing as a stable investment regime without any intention of increasing state ownership.

“We appreciate that the investors are bringing in resources. They are bringing in expertise. We keep a small percentage for checks and balances and currently it sits around 15 to 20 percent. We have no plans to increase beyond those measures,” he told Reuters in an interview.

He went on to say that the new taxes (which also include a royalty on copper production that increases at the same time commodity prices do) were “well-thought-out and logically calculated with the inputs of stakeholders, even the mining companies.”

Musukwa said that most miners had accepted them but was also discussing the concerns of those who had not.

“The government is open for discussion. These taxes are not meant to be one size fits all,” he said.

Referring to the 5% import levy, he added: “As we see it, the government is resolved that mining houses have to pay for that.

“They don’t need to import. They must develop their licences. They must employ our people and improve our economic performance.”