Mines Minister Richard Musukwa says Zambia remains a stable and attractive investment destination for mining and other economic sectors.

And Musukwa has dismissed assertions that the 2019 mining fiscal changes reflect government policy uncertainty and consistency in the country.

Meanwhile, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema travelled to attend the 25th Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, in a bid to try and find out what would be a fairer tax regime for Zambia.

In a statement availed by the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria, Musukwa insisted that Zambia still remained an economically viable investment destination, even amidst the hiked 2019 mining fiscal regime.

The 2019 mining fiscal regime, which took effect January 1, 2019, has seen an increase in mineral royalty rates by 1.5 percentage points at all levels of the sliding scale.

It also introduced import duties of five per cent on copper and cobalt, while also hiking export duty on precious stones and gemstones to a rate of 15 per cent, a situation that had prompted mining companies to threaten job cuts, while compelling Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to downsize its Nchanga Smelter operations due to low availability of concentrates.

But speaking on the side-lines of the 25th Mining indaba in Cape Town, Musukwa insisted that government had a mandate to adjust taxes and other regulations within the legal framework to promote benefits to the community and the country.

Musukwa argued that the increased taxes slapped on imports of concentrates was meant to encourage mining companies develop current resources sitting on their licences.

He said that government had no plans to increase its shareholdings in the mines, and invited mining houses to exploit the opportunities that existed, especially for green investment in the sector.

Musukwa, who is leading a high-level delegation to Africa’s largest mining indaba, is accompanied by provincial ministers from Copperbelt and North-Western provinces, Japhen Mwakalombe and Nathaniel Mubukwanu, who will all be joined by Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.

The Conference, whose theme of the conference is: “Championing Africa’s Sustainable Economic Growth” opened, Monday, at the International Cape Town Convention Centre.

The Conference will also be graced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Ghanaian counterpart Nana Akufo-Addo.

Meanwhile, Hichilema, who also travelled to Cape Town to attend the mining indaba, which attracts governments, business executives and investors, said he would use the indaba as a platform to engage mining firms in dialogue to discuss a fair mining tax regime.

“We arrived safely in Cape Town, South Africa, where we will be attending the 25th Mining Indaba. This is the largest mining indaba in the world where governments, investors and high-profile business leaders meet. This year the indaba will see Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and his Ghanaian counterpart Nana Akkuffo-Addo give keynote addresses. We will be joining high-ranking government officials and mining executives in this endeavour as we seek solutions for our country and our people,” stated Hichilema in a statement released, Monday.

“We are excited with this particular Indaba, which comes at a time when the tax regime in Zambia has been adjusted for the 9th time in 18 years. We shall take this opportunity to engage with the mining houses and have constructive dialogue on what would be a fair taxation system from their point of view and from our point of view. Such dialogue is essential in order to achieve a situation where mining investments benefits Zambia and Zambians as well as investors (win-win situation).”