WORK on creating the right conditions to attract additional investors, says US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote.
And First Quantum Minerals (FQM) country manager Gen Kingsley Chinkuli says if introduced, the recent Budget proposals threaten the stability of the mining sector and would result in the scaling back of investment plans, job losses and reduced tax revenues across the industry.
According to a statement made available by Langmead and Baker Communications, Ambassador Foote, who visited First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Sentinel Mine at Kalumbila last week encouraged dialogue between mining companies, government, and communities to ensure all appropriately benefit from the enormous investment of FQM and mining companies.
“After seeing the mine and its impressive modern facilities, and the enormous investment that has been made as well the impressive investment that has been made into communities and some of the corporate social responsibility, I think it is a great example of what can be done in Zambia with the right investment,” he said.
“I encourage government and the communities to continue to work to create the right conditions to attract additional investors and to ensure that people who have invested heavily in Zambia can continue to successfully do business,” Ambassador Foote said.
He added that the mining sector could help provide jobs, tax revenue, and export earnings.
Ambassador Foote urged the government to ensure responsiveness and facilitate a conducive business environment for the mines and prospective investors.
Government, through finance minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, announced new mining tax plans which include an additional 1.5 per cent increase on all mineral royalty bands, with a new 10 per cent mineral royalty when the copper price exceeds US$7,500 per tonne.
The 2019 budget plans for non-deducted mineral royalties for corporate income tax purposes.
Other plans announced last month include the introduction of a sales tax to replace VAT, meaning that companies will not be able to reclaim tax on input purchases.
The FQM has invested US$6.4 billion in Zambia, employs over 8,800 direct employees.
The mine boasts of being the country’s largest taxpayer, having paid US$3.4 billion to the Treasury since 2005.