THE Chamber of Mines of Zambia says a recent report by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) on mining in Zambia has revealed that the privatisation of mines in the country has resulted in massive job increase and poverty reduction, especially in the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces.
According to the report, new mine owners have invested more more US$80 billion in refurbishing and modernising the mining infrastructure.
Chamber president Jackson Sikamo said the report further states that other investments have gone to the operations of the ‘legacy’ mines on the Copperbelt, but most of it has been invested in new or expanding operations.
Mr Sikamo said this at the dissemination workshop of the ICMM held in Mansa over the weekend.
“Commercial large-scale mining has taken place in Zambia for around 100 years, and is expected to continue for many years to come. This industry had gone from private ownership in the early years, through a period of nationalisation, and most recently back into private hands.
“As a result of the recent privatisation, in excess of US$ 80 billion has been invested by the new owners, resulting in an increase of employment opportunities and reduction in levels of poverty among the people of Zambia,” he said.
He said the annual finished product has also risen from a low of 257,000 metric tonnes to over 700,000 metric tonnes, adding that the total is predicted to rise to over one million metric tonnes in the next couple of years.
“This finished production has been noticeable in the North-Western Province, dubbed “The new Copperbelt”. And towards 1.5 million metric tonnes would be recorded within five to 10 years,’’ he added.
He said the report also highlights conclusively that overall contributions to the government revenues by the private mines has steadily increased over recent years.
Mr Sikamo said all the mining companies in the country have put a lot of efforts and funding into their corporate social investment activities.
At the same function, a mining expert, Sixtus Mulenga, said Zambiais greatly endowed with various precious stones, which, if fully utilised, can reduce poverty.
Dr Mulenga said the minerals found on the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces are lying in the same belt of the Democratic Republic of Congo and spread to Luapula Province.
The one-day workshop attracted participants from various sectors such as small-scale miners from Luapula, civil society and government officials.