We should stop exporting unprocessed minerals


By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party

No matter how many new mines we allow transnational corporations to open and how much they increase mineral production, we will not get much out of it and move our people out of poverty.

We need to learn something from what Indonesia has done with its minerals. They used to earn just over one billion dollars a year exporting iron as an unprocessed commodity but they stopped and started producing stainless steel. And today Indonesia is earning billions from these value additions. But those who were benefiting from commodity exports and exploitation are not happy with them and are relentlessly fighting them.

We have been mining and exporting unprocessed minerals since the early 1900s with Cecil John Rhodes and his British South Africa Company and later Oppenheimer and his Anglo American Corporation but we have gotten very little, if not nothing, from it.

Similarly, we can do the same thing Indonesia has done with our 2,400 metric tonnes of Cobalt, albeit a poor second to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 24,000 metric tonnes production per year. We can do the same with our emeralds, nickel, uranium, etc.

And most of our North Western Province gold should be mined for government stock of gold reserves.

There should be very little, or no, exports of gold. With increased earnings from these value additions to our minerals, we can be in a better position to tackle our youth unemployment of around 7.5 million by pumping some of these increased earnings into agriculture.

Today we have no less than 12 farming blocks, each of around 100,000 hectares of arable land laughing at us. We need only to determine the investment requirements for what we need locally and what the regions around us require over 10 years. And we shouldn’t bother about exporting to Europe, we should instead focus on our neighbours within Africa. And there’s need for us to reduce or stop the importation of foodstuffs we are consuming but not producing. We should as far as possible eat only what we grow and prioritize the growth of what we need to eat.

If we consistently, tenaciously and resolutely do this, Zambians should be able to see a huge reversal of fortunes in less than 15 years. We have no sensible alternative to this.


  1. Am very much impressed ad l see the vision of country Zambia to develop ad Africa if we hv leaders like u. We hv lost great leaders who ws like u, ad disappointingly never supported thm for the love of a white race tht they’ll come,
    FTJ Chiluba ws one of the dullest president who hd a thought tht “abasungu bakesa” whn he become president by opening everything to thm. Since 1991 to date, Zambians hv forgotten our history whr we started to 1991. We still hv a concept of 1991 campaign elections tht a foreigner will come ad run our industries. Very disappointing leadership are the forefront to invite foreigners to come ad run our industries, or managed our natural resources after 58yrs of independence, it very shameful. Zambians let’s wake ad support socialism, thts our hope for all, in…

  2. Very progressive line of thought. A think tank could be established to work out modalities and implementation steps for a fruitful outcome I say.
    Together we can!

  3. All the things this guy is saying is already planned and in the process of being utilised, Didn’t not read or hear about the agreement with DRC for the car battery plant or the restructuring of farming blocks in the last budget
    The current president is too intelligent and forward thinking for politicians like this guy who is still stuck in the bygone age of the Soviet era.

    The president’s philosophy has consistently been about value added.
    Wake up Fred,

  4. Ah! Uncle Fred is suddenly an expert on mining and exporting minerals. Well, maybe not. Stick to something you’re good at, Fred, like reviving The Post, and leave the copper export to people who know what they are talking about!

  5. @ ba Ben don’t shoot other people’s ideas, ba HH is in the driving seat but nothing is coming up good since. Don’t be a bootlicker jst bcos need ka favour or jst he’s on a high seat, he need advice as he’s no big brain. Give him advice for a better tomorrow, don’t mislead him tht all is well, life is bad in Zambia.

Comments are closed.