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Zambia plans to compel copper miners to account for gold

Thu 26th December, 2019 2:21pm
LUSAKA, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Zambia plans to make copper
mining companies account for the gold they produce as it seeks
to boost revenue from its mineral resources, a senior ministry
of mines official said on Thursday.
    Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga told a
news conference that Zambia, Africa's second-largest copper
producer, was missing out on a lot of revenue because only one
large mine was declaring its gold output.
    First Quantum Minerals'  FM.TO  Kansanshi Mine, the only
mine that has been declaring its gold production, produced 4,200
kg of gold last year.
    Mining accounts for more than 70 percent of Zambia's foreign
exchange earnings and other companies operating in the southern
African nation include Barrick Gold Corp  ABX.TO , Glencore
 GLEN.L  and Vedanta Resources  VDAN.NS . 
    Mulenga said Zambia's target for gold production next year
was 40,000 kg and that would come from primary and secondary
sources, including artisanal and small-scale miners.
    Mulenga said some mining companies had not been declaring
any gold production, arguing that the quantities mined were very
insignificant and therefore sold as copper.
    "Some mining companies have been claiming that it is more of
an impurity but gold is precious and can't be an impurity," he
    "What has been happening is that in some cases the gold has
been hidden in the copper blisters or copper cathodes. A system
will be put in place to ensure that we account for that gold,"
he said.
    Zambia's mining investment company ZCCM-IH would invest in
exploration, mining, processing and trading in gold, its chief
executive officer Mabvuto Chipata said at the same briefing.
    ZCCM-IH had undertaken initial exploration work in
northwestern Zambia in collaboration with the mines ministry and
was likely to start mining in the first quarter of next year,
Chipata said.
    ZCCM-IH had also started to set up centres for buying gold
in strategic areas with deposits as a first step in a bid to
formalise artisanal and small scale miners, he said.
    Chipata said ZCCM-IH would provide technical expertise to
artisanal miners on mine planning and safety and give them
access to earth moving machinery and processing plants.

 (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by David Clarke)
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