LUSAKA (miningweekly.com) − Zambia is keen to diversify its mining sector and wants more exploration in iron-ore, manganese, coal and uranium, Vice-President George Kunda said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a mining conference in Lusaka, Kunda said that the Zambian economy was too dependent on copper.
“Although government is pleased with the growth of the mining industry, if the copper price falls, the industry will once again find itself in a mire which could be difficult to get out of.”
Zambia aims to be the third-largest uranium producer in Africa in the near future, Kunda said, adding that this would depend on exploration and investment.
“This means that certain infrastructure sectors will be put under severe pressure, these being the energy, transport and communication sectors. Government is not ignoring this and plans are being put in place to build the capacity of these sectors alongside the mining industry,” he stated.
Kunda told delegates that the government’s commitment to support the rebuilding of the Zambian mining industry was starting to bear fruit.
Since 2005, the country has been gearing itself towards the building of a sustainable and transparent industry. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating, the presence of foreign mining companies in the country proves that investors are once again willing to expand borders into this sleeping African giant.”
Kunda reminded mining companies that corporate social investment was a “non-negotiable” in Zambia.
“Companies are urged to embrace commitments made to work alongside government in building the capacity of Zambia’s skills base so that in future companies can have faith in entrusting the lifeblood of investments to Zambian people; where they are elected to the level of CEOs and executive directors,” he stated.