29th March, 2021
Issued by Zambia Chamber of Mines
Zambia Chamber of Mines elects new President, as he calls for a rethink on impediments to production growth
The Zambia Chamber of Mines, a body representing mining and allied industries in Zambia has elected Dr Godwin Mooba Beene as its new President, taking over from Mr. Goodwell Mateyo,Company Secretary of Mopani Copper Mines who had successfully served the organisation for two years. Dr Beene who is First Quantum Minerals Government Relations Specialist took over the mantle on 5th March 2021, after the Council of the Zambia Chamber of Mines elected him.
In accepting his appointment, Dr Beene presented his immediate priority as being close engagement with all stakeholders. This engagement will aim at ensuring the mining sector becomes competitive again and attracts new investors while motivating expansion by existing investors who have boldly weathered local and international storms since 2000.
Dr Beene pointed to the perfect storm of Copper demand growing fundamentals driven by North American, Chinese and European governments’ resolve to stimulate their economies by ramping up green energy generation and rolling out supporting infrastructure that will accelerate the speed of uptake of electric vehicles.
“We need to maximize on this opportunity to change the fortunes of the industry from those of the last fifteen years that have seen production fluctuate below 1million tons per annum. Hard as it is to accept, Zambia must regard capital flows into less endowed and even into more operationally challenging jurisdictions as lost investment. As long as tax measures such as the non-deductibility of mineral royalty persist, even at 50 per cent deductibility as suggested by some, Zambian mining will remain uncompetitive and unable to afford the cost of capital. Half a unique impediment remains an impediment. “
The incoming Chamber President said that the Chamber of Mines will continue to play its role in highlighting to government and stakeholders impediments to growth in the sector, alerting the Ministry of Mines of the emerging opportunities and trends in the industry and fostering transparency under the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) umbrella.
“At an appropriate time, we hope that a national mining indaba with government could be held as the time for us to take the high road and gain acceleration is now.”
Dr Beene served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines from 2009 to 2011. This period saw improved relations with new and existing investors and significant inflows of investment in the sector which resulted in countrywide geological surveys and mineral exploration, including for oil and gas. Consequently, ground-breaking of Kalumbila Mine, Lubambe Mine, the resumption of operations of Luanshya Copper Mines and development of the NFCA’s South Orebody took place. In the same period, development of Maamba Coal Power Plant and the recommissioning of Munali (Mabiza) Nickel Mine followed. With a heightened level of interest in the sector, the Zambian chapter of the EITI was launched in 2009.
Dr Beene obtained an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at University of Wales, University College Swansea in the UK in 1981 and joined Nchanga Tailings Leach plant. In 1984 he won a Beit Trust scholarship and returned to his alma mater where in 1988 he was awarded a PhD in Chemical Engineering. He went on to hold several senior turnaround roles in the industry at Luanshya, Chingola and Kitwe. He is credited as one of the influencers of change that saw birth of the modern Engineering Institution of Zambia and its Engineering Registration Board, having served as Secretary and President of the Professional Body.
Mr Mateyo, the outgoing President has since congratulated Dr Beene and echoed the unanimous confidence of the Chamber of Mines Council in his leadership as the industry comes to a most critical fork in the road of its development.