MINES and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe says there is no specific policy governing the shareholding structure between Zambians and foreign investors for large scale mining.
Responding to Chawama PF member of parliament Tasila Mwansa, who asked what government’s policy was on the shareholding structure between Zambian and foreign investors in the mining sector, Kabuswe, however, said a company undertaking small scale mining must have a minimum of five percent of its shares owned by Zambians.
He emphasized that his ministry was reviewing the mineral resources development policy and was considering enhancing the framework that governs the shareholding of government in the mines.
“Madam Speaker, the following is government’s policy on the shareholding structure between Zambian and foreign investors in the mining sector; small scale mining; a company undertaking small scale mining must have a minimum of five percent of its shares owned by Zambians. Large scale mining; there is no specific policy governing the shareholding structure between Zambians and foreign investors for large scale mining. However, government owns between 10 to 100 percent shares in the mines which were previously owned by ZCCM-IH and not in the new mines. Madam Speaker, I want to emphasize that the ministry is reviewing the mineral resources development policy and is considering enhancing the framework that governs the shareholding of government in the mines and this will be done in consultation with all relevant stakeholders,” Kabuswe said.
Kantanshi PF member of parliament Anthony Mumba asked if government was satisfied with the current set up of the shareholding and how long the review would take place, Kabuswe said government was in a hurry to review the policy framework so that Zambians benefit from their own resources.
“When you are reviewing something, it means you are not happy with it. So we are re-looking at how the shareholding structures have been in the past and if I were to give you a time frame, I would want this policy done yesterday. So meaning that we are in a hurry to do it because we want to see that Zambians are benefiting from their own resources. That has been the song of His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema that Zambians must benefit from their own resources. This is a God-given resource, this is not a government that is going to be academic about these things. We want the practicality of the shareholding, the money must be seen in the economy from the mining sector,” he said.
Kabuswe added that government had plans to promote women’s participation in mining.
“The government has plans to promote women participation in mining. We recently announced, Madam Speaker, that we have released part of the Black Mountain and one of the participating cooperatives is from women in mining. So that shows that promotion of participation of women is actually taking place under the new dawn government. The following are the plans government has to promote the participation apart from what I have talked about; facilitation to access finance through grants, business linkages, markets and capacity building to enhance production,” he said.
When asked by Chienge FDD member of parliament Given Katuta when the ministry would advertise for women to participate in mining businesses, Kabuswe said everybody had a right to go into mining.
“Madam Speaker, to be blunt, mining is a business. If you want to go into mining, the Ministry of Mines is open. Women, men, children who want to mine, if they have the right age, they are going to mine. And this government has given an example. The women in mining, it is a very big group in Zambia which has been given a slot to mine at the black mountain. That is indicative of how this government is thinking towards women. And that office for the Ministry of Mines is open to women, men and everybody. So please come and if you have a tenement where you want to mine, we are going to give you that tenement and the licence, as long as the procedures are followed,” said Kabuswe.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti hoped that the country would take advantage of its resources.
“And if the video that I have watched is anything to go by, Zambia is number four in terms of natural resources. I hope we can benefit from that,” said Speaker Mutti.