The Southern African Resource Watch has pleaded with the Zambian Government not to sell its twenty percent shareholding in its joint venture with First Quantum Mine.
SARW Executive Director Edward Lange said his organisation is very concerned at the news that the Zambian government is considering selling its twenty percent shares in Kansanshi mine to First Quantum Minerals.
Mr. Lange said this would be a mistake and a departure from what is happening elsewhere on the continent.
He said the Zambian government’s intended sale contradicts the aspirations of the African Mining Vision (AMV), which encourages African countries to increase state participation.
“We are fully aware that the Zambian Government is supportive of the AMV and would not want to go against the continental initiative to ensure full ownership and control of minerals. State participation in mining, through outright ownership or share participation, either on a mandatory basis or through the exercise of option rights, remains common practice on the continent,” Mr Lange said.
“Since independence, copper in Zambia has had special strategic significance. The state has always believed that it needs to maintain a high degree of control over its strategic minerals. This is not unique to Zambia. It would therefore be a mistake for the government to give away the limited control that it still has over Zambian minerals.”
Mr Lange said in Africa today, many countries are considering how to increase state shares in all licenses.
“We, therefore, strongly urge the government of Zambia not to go ahead with such a transaction, but instead to work towards increasing its stake in the many mining licenses and maintain some control over its minerals.”