THE Zambia Chamber of Mines says there is need for more mineral exploration in Zambia for guaranteed mining in the country.
In an interview in Lusaka, Chamber president Dr Godwin Beene explained that more explorations would secure the future of mining in the country.
“We need increased levels of mineral exploration because without that you don’t expect a new mine. That’s you saw in our presentation here that we are eager to urge the government to really promote that (mineral exploration),” Dr Beene, who was Ministry of Mines permanent secretary between 2009 and 2011, said. “Secondly, there are people that advanced in exploration and if they are ready allow them to do it (to start mining). Don’t put in road blocks! If there is a mine that’s ready on the horizon, let them do it. Thirdly, the existing mines some of them have plans to expand; enable them to expand. Promote growth! That’s what our concern is and we think it will happen.”
On the ZCCM-IH having controlling influence on Zambia’s mines, Dr Beene said the ZCM normally dealt with cross-cutting issues.
“Right now, that is a matter that’s between the owners, which is government,” he said.
Asked how the mines could help to repay Zambia’s accumulated debt, Dr Beene responded: “we pay taxes!”
“So, enable the producer to produce profitably and pay taxes. Put money in the treasury! As long as our members (mining firms) are able to produce and make profit, they will pay tax,” Dr Beene noted.
And in a presentation on Zambian mining sector for the next 10 years at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka last Thursday, Dr Beene noted that mining was still the engine that drove national economic activities.
“We’ll support the whole mining activity from artisanal to large-large. While all eyes are on the large-scale miners, we must not neglect the small-scale and artisanal sector,” he said. “This sector has the potential to contribute a significant production, if properly managed.”
He further said the ZCM is encouraging geo-mapping and exploration in Zambia.
“We need to be very sure of our nation’s metal resources. Then we can competently enter into a league of metal producers,” Dr Beene noted. “We need to address impediments to investment inflows and we must be willing to learn on the experiences of others. Top on the list of impediments is [mining] policies.”
He added that the bad public perception of the industry ought to be addressed.
“Zambia joined the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) in 2009 for a simple reason of demonstrating transparency in the country’s mining industry…” said Dr Beene.