Hon Christopher Yaluma
Minister of mines Christopher Yaluma says the Mineral Royalty Tax introduced last year will help the Government achieve its mining revenue targets in 2017.
And Mr Yaluma says Zambia will regain its top position as Africa’s biggest copper producer as most of the challenges that unsettled the mining sector had since been resolved.
The mining sector has been rocked by frequent changes in the mining fiscal regime, which has disturbed operations and profitability.
The Mines and Minerals Development Bill, 2015, which contained the provisions for the revised 2015 mining fiscal regime, passed through Parliament in July, 2015, following changes Cabinet approved in April of that year.
The changes of that regime saw Mineral Royalty Tax (MRT) for open cast mines pegged at nine percent, brought down from the previous 20 percent, and six percent for underground mining operations.
The mine tax system also re-introduced a 30 percent corporate income tax on income earned from mining operations, while corporate income tax on income earned from mineral processing at 35 percent, which took effect from July 1, 2015, mid-way through that fiscal year.
Mr Yaluma explained that following extensive consultations from the time the latest fiscal regime was introduced and implemented last year, the Government anticipates to hit its mining tax revenue targets this year.
He said during a tour of Kansanshi Mining Plc’s open-pit mine in Solwezi recently, that Zambia would regain its top position as Africa’s biggest copper producer.
Last year’s total copper production of 770,588 tonnes from 710,860 tonnes in 2015 means Zambia remains behind the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who are Africa’s undisputed top copper producer having mined 986,582 tonnes of the red metal in 2016, according to Reuters.
Despite having recorded a five percentage drop year-on-year, the DRC maintains a healthy lead over its southern counterpart, with its output for 2017 certain to continue climbing in view of rebounding copper prices on the international market.
“Yes, Zambia, I am very sure will regain its number one position from Congo. We knew exactly what hit us to backslide in second position; one of it was electricity constraint; the second one, we had some problems with our own [mining] fiscal regime. Those things impacted on the performance of the mines and we have realised that we should have done much better than we did,” said Mr Yaluma.
“With all this now normalised, dialoguing with the Chamber of Mines regularly; whatever we feel like a change in policy, we must sit down and talk about it and discuss so that we don’t do something which will upset the industry. We are also not saying, ‘we should give away’, we should talk and both ensure that we all win, at least we get what we want, so it is give and take.”