Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia, took the stage at the 2024 Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday, February 5th, once again emphasizing his commitment to revitalizing the country’s mining sector and positioning Zambia as a major player in the global industry. This marks President Hichilema’s second keynote address at the Indaba since his landslide election victory in 2021, highlighting the continued importance he places on mining for Zambia’s economic development.
President Hichilema outlined ambitious plans to significantly increase copper production, aiming to reach 3 million tonnes per year by 2030, nearly quadrupling the current output of 800,000 tonnes. This aligns with Zambia’s position as the world’s seventh-largest copper producer and reflects the potential for further growth. Recognizing the growing demand for critical minerals, Hichilema also emphasized diversification efforts, seeking to expand mining into areas like lithium and cobalt.
The President highlighted his administration’s focus on transparency and stability as key factors in attracting investment. He mentioned the review and reform of the mining tax framework, ensuring a competitive and predictable system that eliminates double taxation. Additionally, his efforts to secure investments and partnerships, exemplified by the DRC-Zambia MoU for a regional battery value chain, demonstrate his commitment to proactive engagement.
Hichilema’s policies appear to be yielding results. Major mining companies are reinvesting in Zambia, and global players are taking a renewed interest in the country’s copper opportunities. These positive developments indicate that Zambia’s mining sector is on the right track towards revitalization.
While the future looks promising, challenges remain. Ensuring equitable distribution of mining benefits to local communities and addressing environmental concerns will be crucial for sustainable development. Additionally, navigating the complex geopolitical landscape surrounding the global mining industry requires careful diplomacy.
President Hichilema’s renewed focus on the mining sector at the Indaba underscores its critical role in Zambia’s economic trajectory. His commitment to transparency, stability, and diversification, coupled with early signs of progress, paints a promising picture for the future of Zambian mining. However, overcoming challenges and capitalizing on opportunities will be essential for achieving the ambitious goals outlined by the President.