Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Honorable Christopher Yaluma has said Government is promoting diversification within the mining sector and is focusing on value addition to development minerals, which are often referred to as low value minerals.
This was in a key note speech delivered on behalf of the Minister by Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde at the Mines and Money Conference in London on Monday.
Mr. Yakuma said Government is focusing on the promotion of value addition in order to diversify the economy adding that Development minerals provide vital inputs for domestic economic development.
Development minerals are minerals which include emeralds, amethyst, garnet, tourmaline and aquamarine. These minerals are often referred to as low value minerals due to their low price as a function of their weight, and relatively low value to international commodity markets.
And Mr. Yaluma said that the vision of the Government for the mining sector is a vibrant mining industry contributing to the achievement of the Vision 2030 where Zambia aims to become a prosperous middle income nation.
“The mining sector has continued to expand as evidenced from the increase in mineral production and investments in expansion projects at existing mines and green field investments. Copper production, despite the challenges increased from 710,860 tonnes in 2015 to 770,587 tonnes in 2016. At 510,856 tonnes during the period January to August 2017, copper production was 0.42% more than the 508,718 tonnes recorded during the corresponding period in 2016.”
“Total annual copper production in 2017 is projected to increase to 778,379 tonnes from 770,587 tonnes in 2016. Equally, expansion projects to extend mine life at Mopani and other mines continued. The performance of other minerals, emeralds in particular, also improved. Production of emeralds and beryl increased from 52,833 kilograms in 2015 to 74,742 kilograms in 2016. In the same vein, exports of emeralds improved thereby increasing the contribution to Government revenue,” he said.
The minister also invited investors to come and invest in Zambia saying there were several investment opportunities in the country’s mining sector ranging from exploration and mining through to mineral processing and value addition and associated service industries.
And presenting at the same conference, ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Dr. Pius Kasolo said in order to move from being passive and just being a holding company, ZCCM-IH is diversifying its investment portfolio by relentlessly and actively pursuing high yielding investment opportunities in other sectors such as real estate, agriculture, energy and manufacturing.
He said ZCCM-IH will continue to grow its portfolio beyond mining and further increase foothold in other sectors so that the company continues to maximize shareholder value.
“The mining sector will still remain critical to our strategy, as we are looking to diversify into other minerals and work at extracting value at from our existing assets in the sector. We will continue to actively seek and invest in sustainable value adding projects, both short and long term, to create new revenue income streams, and reduce reliance on dividend pay-outs from our assets in the mining sector,” he said.