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Rival unions toast review of Zambia’s mineral tax

It is rare that Zambia’s rival unions representing miners in the country agree to eat from the same table though they belong and represent on industry.

But over government move to review the 2015 mineral royalties’ tax, the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and its opponent the National Union of Miners and allied Workers NUMAW have both hailed the decision to look at the tax increases again.

“The move will revamp mine operations and safeguard thousands of jobs which were hanging in the balance’” said MUZ general secretary Joseph Chewe.

NUMAW President James Chansa said, “It is a good move but mine companies should now reverse positions take such lying off workers.

Following presentations from mine companies and the Chamber of Mines, President Lungu has implored the ministries of Finance and Mines to review the tax and make recommendation to cabinet by April 8.

The Chamber of mines also joined the union groups saying the new development will reactivate operations in the country’s ministry industry and save jobs.

Last year a proposal was made to parliament to increase mineral royalty tax from three to eight for underground mining and six to 20 for open pit works.

The tax was affected in January after parliamentary approval. Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada, a multinational running Lumwana mine in Solwezi threatened to pull out by the end of March if the situation did not improve.

Issuing the directive President Lungu observed, “Obviously the mining industry has been affected by copper prices on the international market.”

He added, “It is clear that this unfavourable economic trend globally has been mainly on account of the weak demand for copper.”

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