Chamber of mines calls for ‘attractive policies’ to spur mining

Zambia, one of Africa’s leading copper producers should initiate reliable and predictable policies to attract direct foreign investment into the mining and copper industry, the chamber of mines says.

Chamber of Mines of Zambia, a consortium of foreign mining companies operating in Zambia says Zambia is still very competitive as a copper producer.

There is need for the Government to have policies that attract foreign direct investment, says its current president Emmanuel Mutati who was speaking during a consultative meeting with civil society groups in Lusaka recently, according to Zambia’s Daily Nation.

Recently, former chamber of mines president Nathan Chishimba called on the Government to prioritise mining and ensure that policies are predictable to attract investment noting that investors need assurance on the security of tenure on their investment when operating in the country.

At the same forum, Chamber of Mines of Zambia chief executive officer, Maureen Dhlamini appealed to all stakeholders in the mining industry to engage with it on matters of concern over the copper resource.

Dlamini noted that copper ought not to be a “cursed” resource but a benefit for the nation, she said in her presentation titled ‘Macro-economic impacts of mining’, an excerpt from a report by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).

“We are now opening ourselves up to engage with various stakeholders on how best our country can benefit from copper. We welcome views of all stakeholders,” Dlamini added.

It is not the mining sector alone that will solve the challenges of benefits from copper, which accounts for 80 percent export earnings noting that the mining sector wants an ongoing rapport with stakeholders

“Our copper resource must not be a curse. We need discussions based on facts,” Dlamini said  She also appealed to Government to have policies that will encourage the establishing of manufacturing companies.

Zambia, which is the 8th largest copper producer in the world, is actually a high-cost jurisdiction compared to other countries in the region, Dhlamini added.

During the same forum, Chibuluma mine general manager, Jackson Sikamo said Zambia must begin putting in place copper reserves by way of exploration.

He noted: “We need to start investing in exploration, otherwise our copper resource will diminish,”

During the recently held Zambia Investment Mining and energy conference in Zambia, a Chilean mine expert urged Zambia to adopt consistency in policies coupled with dialogue among players to emulate Chile’s reputation as the global top copper producer to spur growth.

Mining engineer and consultant, Osvaldo Bascur, who has been attached to the Chile mining industry over the years is impressed with Zambia’s zeal to remain among the top rated countries globally and the country has potential to develop if various fundamentals are taken into account.

According to the latest compilation, Chile accounts for 80 percent (lion’s share) of the global copper production, recording a high 5,700,000 tons by 2013, according to the United States Geological Survey data-making that country the top notch producer by quantity.

Peru, China, the United States and Russia are among the highly rated copper producers in the world, according to the latest compilation of the top 10 countries in the world.

Chile the world’s leading copper producer last year ramped up production of the red metal and hit a record 5,700,000 tons last year, up from 5,430,000 tons recorded two years ago. Copper is Chile’s mainstay, representing 20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. It accounts for 60 percent of the country’s exports.

With help from copper revenue, the country’s economy is expanding threefold recording six percent annually; it also credits the industry with the country’s low rates of inflation and curbs unemployment, the US journal adds.

China is rated second with 1,650,000 tons mines last year-less than half of Chile’s outturn. China’s output rose from 1,530,000 tons in 2012 produced by the world’s largest consumer of the red metal.

Peru, is rated third in the world with outturn of 1,300,000 produced last year, though not moved much from that recorded in 2012, according to a US journal.

Peru’s mine production, according to data, could however rise as much as 10 percent in 2014, with that country’s energy and mines minister, Jorge Merino, projecting a 17-percent increase in copper production alone as the result of several new projects set to open in the year ahead.

The United States is rated fourth having mined 1,220,000 tons last year up slightly from its figure of 1,170,000 tons in 2012. This increase came despite a catastrophic landslide at Utah’s Bingham Canyon mine in early 2013; the incident which caused it to cease production for an extended period of time. The total copper production in the US is worth more than $1 billion.

Australia is fifth with levels estimated at 990,000 tons produced last year, marking an increase from 958,000 tons in 2012. Russia is sixth at 930,000 tons outturn last year up from the 883,000 tons it produced in 2012.

Democratic Republic of the Congo; the country is rated seventh after hoisting 900,000 tons  last year, a significant rise from the 600,000 tons produced in the country in 2012, followed by Zambia on eighth at 830,000 tons last year, rising from 690,000 tons a year earlier.

Canada is ninth with 630,000 tons recorded last year, up from 579,000 tons recorded a year earlier. Mexico is 10th with 480,000 tons, a slight increase from that of 2012 which accounted for 440,000 tones.

Mexico forecasts increases in copper production over the next two years, according to Bloomberg news, although copper prices on the global metal market will be major determinants for that to occur.

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