THE country is on the right track in achieving the anticipated three million tonnes of annual copper production in the next decade due to the robust mining policy environment and the intention to map the country for minerals, Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI).
Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has in the 2014 budget made available K160 million for mineral mapping and exploration while maintaining the Mineral Royalty Tax (MRT) deductible to remain consistent thereby achieving stability in the industry to attract investments.
KDCCI president Emmanuel Mbambiko said in Kitwe at the weekend that stability in the mining fiscal regime and mineral mapping were critical in encouraging investments in the country.
“Efforts being made by the government to stabilise the mining fiscal regime and setting aside K160 million for mineral mapping will go a long way in attracting investments and help the country know the amount of endowments,” Mr Mbambiko said.
He said now that there was stability in the mining fiscal regime, it was expected that in 2024, mining houses would start ramping up copper production on the expectations that for the past two years they would have invested in mining explorations and expansions.
Mr Mbambiko said previously the mining industry blamed disinvestments on lack of mining fiscal regime but that with the stability and incentives the current Government was providing, more production was expected.
“Copperbelt still has huge mineral potential, what is needed is to heavily invest in mineral exploration and mapping to increase the amount of known copper reserves and begin to mine, I am 62 years, I have been hearing about copper being depleted when I was 20, but mine operations have continued,” Mr Mbambiko said.
He urged the Government to quickly conclude negotiations with the potential investor for Mopani Copper Mine (MCM) so that full production could start to lift the region’s economic fortunes.