Zambian Royalty Spat Halts $2 Billion of Copper Mine Investment – by Felix Njini, Taonga Clifford Mitimingi and Matthew Hill (Bloomberg News – September 30, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Copper miners in Zambia have halted $2 billion of planned investments because a royalty tax introduced last year makes the projects unviable, according to an industry lobby group.

A plan by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. to invest $1 billion extending the life of its Kansanshi operation won’t proceed until the royalty is scrapped, said Sokwani Chilembo, chief executive officer of the Zambia Chamber of Mines. The same goes for EMR Capital-backed Lubambe Copper Mine’s project to invest a similar amount in a new mining operation, he said.

“We need this royalty payment regime removed for progress to begin,” Chilembo said in an interview. “If the government thinking is otherwise, good luck.”

John Gladston, a spokesman for Vancouver-based First Quantum, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Lubambe didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Earlier this month, Lubambe CEO Nick Bowen said Zambia’s changing tax regime makes investment difficult.

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