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Vedanta in Zambia for long haul – Albanese

VEDANTA is in Zambia for the long haul, says company CEO Tom Albanese.

Executives from First Quantum Minerals and Konkola Copper Mines announced, at a Zambian session hosted by mines deputy minister Richard Musukwa, during a London conference on mining, that they would be expanding their investments in Zambia because the economic atmosphere was conducive.

Clive Newall, the president and director of FQM and Albanese both gave an upbeat assessment of the mining investment climate in Zambia.
“Vedanta is in Zambia for the long haul. We have an exploration vision of 50 years. It is rare to have such period of expectation in mining and therefore we are committed to staying in Zambia. In addition, we are ready to help Zambia attract investments in the area of infrastructure development to support the mining industry,” said Albanese according to a statement issued by first secretary for press at Zambia’s High Commission in London, Amos Chanda.

And Newall said there could be no better time to play an active role in the Zambian mining sector because the prospects were very positive.

“The 300,000 tonnes a year Sentinel Mine we are building will be a world class mine and the largest in Africa. We are expanding in other continents as well but we are confident the Zambian operation will continue to deliver a good return on investment,” he said.

And Musukwa assured KCM and FQM that the policy of the government was to promote a private sector-driven industry that delivers profit for investors and helps improve the quality of life for the Zambian people.

“We need an industry that helps the government deliver its objectives of fighting poverty. Government will support KCM overcome their challenges and government expects KCM to reciprocate,” Musukwa said. “We are happy with KCM’s investments to expand the mine’s lifespan at Nchanga and their new investments at Konkola Deep.”

In his keynote address, Musukwa told investors and the government representatives, academia and NGOs monitoring the mining industry, that Zambia’s mining industry was one of the most vibrant boasting of resources including copper, cobalt, gold, gemstones and variety of industrial minerals and energy resources from uranium, coal and hydrocarbons.

“This represents excellent investment opportunities in the extraction and processing of these minerals. Zambia’s mining industry and economy is copper-dominated and in this regard production is projected to reach 1,500,000 tonnes by the year 2016, double the amount produced in 2012,” he said. “It is projected that investments in the mining sector will reach US$15 billion by 2017 on account of the new projects if the international metal prices hold above US$7,000.”
He assured investors that Zambia offers full protection against state nationalisation by issuing investment certificates tenable from the Zambia Development Agency and was a signatory to multilateral investment guarantee agency as well as the international convention on the settlement of investment disputes.

“We have an independent judiciary as well as sound governance structures based on the rule of law. Zambia continues to enjoy exceptional political stability since independence and this year we are celebrating our golden jubilee-50 years of uninterrupted peace,” he said.
United Kingdom Minister for International Development, Lynn Featherstone, called on mining companies and African governments to ensure that mining revenues helped to develop the quality of life for the people.

She said the UK government had made tax compliance and good corporate practices in the mining sector top on the agenda for international development.
Featherstone said continued maximisation of extractive revenues was essential to support the growing expectations of the expanding middle-class and sustain the increased urbanisation of the population.

“In an environment where the whole world is competing for the benefits that mining can bring, Africa must ensure that it offers a competitive environment for companies to operate in. Transparent and stable taxation regimes, efficient permitting and licensing processes and skilled and healthy workforces are necessary to be a contender for mining dollars,” she said.

The summit themed: “Sharing the benefits of the commodity boom” took place at One Great George Street Westminster from 24 to 26 June providing three days of incisive debate between African government officials, mining companies, investors and local experts.

Story by Masuzyo Chakwe (POST Newspapers)

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