GEMCANTON Mining Investments Holdings says there is need for the government to regulate and monitor the emerald black market if it is collect adequate taxes.
Chief executive officer Abdul Ba says the mining company has paid the government about USD$3.5 million in taxes this year.
In an interview, Gemcanton Mining Investments manager Langson Mukuma said the number of black market sellers of emeralds had increased and that there was need to address it as many international buyers were running to the black market.
“When we go for auctions, there is a lot of black market products on the market and when buyers come to Zambia to buy emeralds, the bidding is difficult with us because they [black market sellers] sale them at a cheaper price,” he said.
He said the black market had been one of the mine’s challenges.
He said the mine had lost many buyers to the black market auctioneers, who have been selling the precious stones cheaply.
He said the competition has become too stiff and big mining companies fear losing business to auctioneers that were not even paying tax.
Mukuma said if the government was to collect more taxes, there was need for it to resolve or address the problems that mining companies were facing.
And Mukuma urged the government to re-look at the new sales tax, as it was likely to cause unemployment in mining companies.
He said the sales tax would negatively impact on the production of materials and operations of mining companies.
He said most mining companies would be forced to layoff workers so as to help the mines continue to produce.
“If we can get rid of the black market or have control of it then government can draw more taxes from the mine companies because those black market auctioneers do not pay tax,” said Mukuma.
And Ba said the taxes were usually levied on saleable materials, which were auctioned internationally.
He said the company faired well in their 2018 mineral production and that they were looking forward to commencing 2019 operations.
He said business had been very good for Gemcanton and that the mine was looking forward to increasing its production next year.
He said the company had invested in mew machines such as dump trucks, water pumps and excavators, which would help enhance production in 2019.
“We are happy with the way production has been over the years and this year’s also has not been different though we are trying to improve and increase our production for next year as well as increase on labour. So we have bought some equipment from Germany that we think may help us as we mine,” said Ba.