MINES and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe has lamented that the UPND administration inherited a mining sector which is in court and it cannot develop like that.
And Kabuswe described some investors as notorious, saying their investment pronouncements do not match with their activities.
At the 2022 Zambia Alternative Mining Policy Dialogue, Wednesday, Kabuswe said almost the entire mining sector was in court.
“It is very saddening that we have a country that has beaten us with productivity figures. That country cannot be compared to us in terms of stability. Zambia is very peaceful, Zambia is very stable but as we were coming in as the new dawn, we inherited a mining sector that is in court. Almost everything is in court. You can’t mine in court, people fighting around licenses, this mine is entangled, KCM is entangled. All these things we have to unlock them for us to see benefits,” Kabuswe said.
He said Zambia must be careful as it makes decisions in the mining sector because the country is everyone’s choice for investment at the moment.
“Those that intend to come and invest with us through this forum, we want to say this government is looking at a win-win situation. Everybody on the table must win; sometimes Zambia has lost it on the negotiating table. This time around, we are not going to allow that. We have to negotiate with a common purpose in our minds so that nobody walks away with a lion’s share. In fact, Zambia must always walk away with a lion’s share. I want to let you know that his Excellency President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his team we are providing a platform and a political will for us to see real benefits in the sector,” he said.
“And as Zambians, we are very lucky that the Chamber of Mines was saying that this is the right time to make all the big decisions. I will give a narrative of a beautiful woman, very beautiful woman, around 10 men who are looking for that beautiful woman. So that beautiful woman must be very careful to select the right candidate to marry her. That is the position we found our self as Zambia today. Everyone wants to flock to us, everybody is rushing to Zambia but it is at this moment that we need to put our heads together and make sure that we maximize that which we must benefit.”
And Kabuswe described some investors as notorious, saying their investment pronouncements did not match with their activities.
“Our government has set an ambitious target of three million metric tonnes of copper production per year in the next 10 years. This 3 million tonnes Chamber of Mines must not just be figures, our investors have been very notorious of mentioning very big investment figures yet we are not seeing the activities. Most of the mines that I have visited, I have made this very clear to them, I visited one mine on the Copperbelt they were talking to me and telling me the figures, we have invested $2 billion, look at the infrastructure then I said I am very shocked because when I was driving into this town, I was smelling poverty all around me. So if you invest $2 billion can we see the activity around the mine,” he said.
Further, he assured the participants that government would take their submissions into account.
“I want to let you know that whatever resolutions that you are coming with today, we are going to have a look at them. You can ask my PS, I have been on my team to say can we please put across the mining policy very quickly because we can’t just keep talking and talking, there is an Indaba here, there is extractive whatever. So we need now to really move into gear and make Zambia wealthy through the mining sector. We are blessed with an outbreak of ‘a lot of gold’. It means God is telling us that this is time for Zambia to arise in the mining sector,” said Kabuswe.