“Use mining revenue to improve social sector,” says United Kingdom

“African Governments and mining companies that they host should co-exist in ensuring that the revenues realised from mining activities are translated into improving people’s welfare,” a United Kingdom official says.

Lynne Featherstone, the United Kingdom’s Minister for International Development urged mining companies and African governments to ensure that mining revenues helped to develop the quality of life of the people in which they operate.

She was speaking during the mining investor conference in London which was also attended by Zambia’s deputy minister of mines energy and water development Richard Musukwa.

Featherstone noted that the UK government has made tax compliance and good corporate practices in the mining sector top on the agenda for international development.

Continued maximization of extractive revenues is essential to support the growing expectations of the expanding middle classed and sustain the increased urbanization of the population.

“In an environment where the whole world is competing for the benefits that mining can bring, Africa must ensure that it offers a competitive environment for companies to operate in,” said Featherstone, according to a statement from the Zambian high commission in London.

Transparent and stable taxation regimes, efficient permitting and licensing processes and skilled and healthy workforces are necessary to be a contender for mining dollars.” She added.

And Zambia’s reputation as Africa’s top copper producer has continued to assist the country lure more investment into the mining and copper sector with two major multinationals reaffirming their stay.

Two of Zambia’s top copper producers, First Quantum Minerals and Konkola Copper Mines-all units of multinational companies, at the just ended investor meeting, pledged new money into the Zambian mining sector noting that the country’s mining industry offers the best prospects on the continent.

Toronto listed and diversified miner, First Quantum Minerals, operating in Zambia’s north western province and owners of the US2 billion Kalumbila trident copper project and Vedanta owned Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) are planning ahead and want to continue expanding their investments in the copper rich country bolstered by a conducive economic atmosphere.

Clive Newall,  the President and Director of FQML and Vedanta’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Albanese, were both upbeat about Zambia in their assessment of the mining investment climate in Zambia.

“Vedanta is in Zambia for the long haul. We have an exploration vision of 50 years. It is rare to have such period of expectation in mining and therefore we are committed to staying in Zambia,” he said during the meeting which also saw Zambia’s deputy mines minister Richard Musukwa in attendance.

He added: “We are ready to help Zambia attract investments in the area of infrastructure development to support the mining industry.”

Newall said there could be no better time to play an active role in the Zambian mining sector because the prospects are very positive.

“The 300,000 tonnes a year sentinel mine we are building will be a world class mine and the largest in Africa. We are expanding in other continents as well but we are confident the Zambian operation will continue to deliver a good return on investment.” He added.

During the meeting, Musukwa assured KCM and FQM that the Government policy was to promote a private sector-driven industry that delivers profit for investors and helps improve the quality of life of the Zambian people.

“We need an industry that helps the government deliver its objectives of fighting poverty. Government will support KCM overcome their challenges and government expects KCM to reciprocate,”

“We are happy with KCM’s investments to expand the mine’s lifespan at Nchanga and their new investments at Konkola Deep.”

Musukwa, told investors and government representatives, academia and NGOs monitoring the mining industry that Zambia’s mining industry is one of the most vibrant boasting of resources including copper, cobalt, gold, gemstones and variety of industrial minerals and energy resources from uranium, coal and hydrocarbons.

“This represents excellent investment opportunities in the extraction and processing of these minerals. Zambia’s mining industry and economy is copper-dominated and in this regard production is projected to reach 1,500,000 tonnes by the year 2016, double the amount produced in 2012,” he said.

Major multinational companies are currently making substantial investments into the Zambian mining industry which has raked in $8 billion worth of investment since the completion of the privatisation programme in 2000.

It is projected that investments in the mining sector will reach $15 billion by 2017 and beyond on account of the new projects if the international metal prices hold above $7000 a ton.

Zambia offers full protection against state nationalisation by issuing investment certificates tenable from the Zambia Development Agency and is a signatory to multilateral investment guarantee agency as well as the international convention on the settlement of investment disputes.

“We have an independent judiciary as well as sound governance structures based on the rule of law. Zambia continues to enjoy exceptional political stability since independence and this year we are celebrating our Golden Jubilee—50 years of uninterrupted peace,” Musukwa assured investors.

The summit themed: “Sharing the benefits of the commodity boom”

took place at One Great George Street Westminster from 24-26 June 2014 providing three days of incisive debate between African government officials, mining companies, investors and local experts.

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