Zambia’s business environment must remain stable to aid mining investment, says Australian High Commissioner

The Australian High Commissioner to Zambia has called for a stable business environment to ensure investment continues to flow into the mining sector, following recent government proposals to increase royalty tax on the sector.

“For any productive direct investment, the operating environment has to be right,” said High Commissioner Bronte Moules after taking a tour of First Quantum Minerals’ (FQM) Sentinel Mine in Northwest Zambia.

“Foreign investment – of world-class standard and done responsibly – can be a really important contributor to a country’s economic development.

“At the Sentinel Mine, I was able to see the direct positive impact of the effort and resources FQM is putting into developing the surrounding community including in terms of health, education and agricultural livelihoods,” she said.

Her visit comes after multinational mining companies operating in Zambia have raised concerns regarding government proposals for an additional 1.5%-point increase on all mineral royalty tax bands, along with a new 10% royalty tax for copper when its price exceeds US$7,500 p/t.

TSX-listed FQM has invested $6.4 billion in Zambia and directly employs over 8,800 people. It is also the country’s largest taxpayer, having paid $3.4 billion to the Treasury since 2005.

The company built the town of Kalumbila alongside the $2.1 billion Sentinel copper mine, which started operating in 2015.