Zulu warns mine investors against blackmailing govt with mass layoffs

MINES deputy minister Charles Zulu says investors in mines should not resort to expressing their displeasure with any government policy change by threatening to lay off workers.

And Mopani Copper Mines chief executive officer Johan Hansen says what is required most in the mining sector is stability in tax regime.

Speaking at the luncheon held in his honour by Mopani Copper Mines after touring stands at the ongoing Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show in Kitwe on Thursday, Zulu said the government would not accept threats of mass layoffs whenever there was change in policy.

“Mining houses must compliment government efforts by being compliant and transparent in their operations. We are committed to maintaining a stable and conducive policy and regulatory environment for the continued growth of the mining sector. The government has shown its commitment to dialogue by listening to the industry’s concerns on various policy changes. Industry should also appreciate government’s interests in developing the mining sector hence the need for support and cooperation,” Zulu said.

He further said the country could not talk of building and sustaining a strong economy without maximising the development of the mining industry because it was the mainstay of the country’s economy.

Zulu said the government’s focus was to maximise the development of the mining sector in a manner that would translate into a strong and sustainable economy.

“There is need to build trust between government, investors and all stakeholders for this to be realised. A conducive environment should be one where both the investor and owners of the resources obtain a fair return for the exploitation of the minerals. When communities do not see benefits from a mining project, it becomes difficult for the activity to progress smoothly. On the other hand, when the mining project is not profitable, it does not progress and consequently, no benefits would be derived,” Zulu said.

And speaking earlier, Hansen said the country’s mining tax regime must become stable.

“It’s very difficult to attract investors with an unstable tax regime. What we require most is a stable tax regime. We will continue to engage government to ensure that we create a conducive environment that will enable growth and expansion of mining operations,” Hansen said.

He said there was a great opportunity to increase national prosperity by creating a stable and sustainable mining operation for generations to come

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