SOME mining companies on the Copperbelt have appealed to Government to consider exempting them from paying certain taxes to enable them recover from the high production costs they are incurring due to the fallen copper prices at the London Stock Exchange.
Sino Metals Leach Zambia Limited, NFC Africa Mining and Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) say they are making losses due to the high production costs they are incurring.
The three mines made the appeal when Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma visited their premises to familiarise himself with the challenges they are facing.
Sino Metals chief executive officer Xie Kaishou said his company has exhausted all resources from the tailings dam and that copper production has dropped drastically.
“Last year, our copper production dropped from 7,000 to 5,000 tonnes due to lack of resources. This year, production is expected to drop by 4,000 tonnes. We are really operating at a loss,” Mr Xie said.
He said with the increase in copper prices at the London Stock Exchange, the company is struggling to meet high production costs.
Mr Xie, however, assured Government that all the jobs for the local people will be protected despite the numerous challenges the company is facing.
He also said Sino Metals plans to invest about US$70 million into the Mwambashi Mine Project which will create 600 jobs for the local people and extend the mine’s lifespan to seven years.
Meanwhile, LCM chief executive officer Luo Xingeng said the lifespan of Baluba Mine is expected to finish in the next four years due to limited resources.
Mr Luo said Baluba Mine is important because it is the largest employer in Luanshya with more than 3,000 people working at the mine.
“We are appealing to you the Government to exempt us from paying certain taxes, we are operating at a loss. The Baluba Mine only has a life span of four years,” he said.
And Mr Yaluma assured the mining companies of continued Government’s support in addressing some of the challenges they are facing.
He, however, urged the mines to anticipate challenges such as low copper prices on the London Stock Exchange when doing their business plans to maintain their cash flow.
“Wherever we have been, mining houses are complaining about high production costs. We as Government, we are here to listen to your problems, engage us so that we can see how we may help you.
“However, it is important that you forecast challenges of low copper prices when doing your business plans,” Mr Yaluma said.
He said Government is not rigid and will endeavour to create policies that will help investors to grow their businesses and create job opportunities for the local people.