Canadian metals and mining company First Quantum Minerals’ (FQM’s) Sentinel openpit copper mine, in Zambia, has exceeded its production targets for July and August.
This strong performance was attributed to consistent milling rates and better-than-expected grades in August, the company said in a statement on September 17, adding that this put the mine on track to meet investor projections for the full quarter.
The performance was despite the tax regime, which was ranked as the least competitive in the world by consulting firm EY, and challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have seen numerous changes to the country’s mining tax regime over the last ten years. However, despite the policy inconsistency, First Quantum managed to pay more than $533-million in taxes to the Zambian government in 2018, with an additional $10-million spent on community and infrastructure projects,” said FQM government affairs specialist Dr Godwin Beene.
He noted that the mining firm’s approach to tax and royalty payments reflected its underlying core values that focus on building open and transparent relationships with the tax authorities in the countries where it operates.
The company also provided an operations update to shareholders earlier this week, which revealed that its Kansanshi mine had continued to operate as expected, delivering consistent production despite declines in oxide grades and recovery.
The company’s recently updated mineral reserves and resources report for Kansanshi showed a 70% and 40% increase, respectively, over the last update in May 2015. This has extended the mine life to 24 years.
However, Beene cautioned that, for the company to continue being a major contributor to the Zambian economy, the government needed to put in place an effective and efficient mineral tax regime to attract foreign direct investment, which should seek to adequately compensate the country while remaining internationally attractive and competitive.