Sunday, March 16, 2008
By Business Reporter
MINING companies should justify why the Development Agreements (DAs) they signed with the Government should not be revised in their current form. Parliamentary committee on economic affairs and labour chairperson, Given Lubinda, said the committee was not satisfied with the submissions by mining companies on the reasons why the DAs should be maintained in their current form.
Mr Lubinda urged the companies to avail the committee a detailed report on the same.
He was speaking at Parliament yesterday after the Chambers of Mines of Zambia (CMZ) and the Association of Zambia Mineral Exploration Companies (AZMEC) made a submission on the mines and minerals development Bill to the Committee.
In their joint submissions, CMZ general manager, Fredrick Bantubonse and AZMEC secretary, Julian Green said to declare the DAs null and void in the new Bill was disappointing when mining companies under the same agreements had invested over US$3 billion in the sector.
“It is, therefore, disappointing and a matter of great concern that just as the economy is picking up, the Government is proposing to arbitrarily and unilaterally declare the bi-multi lateral development agreements null and void,” Mr Bantubonse said
Mr Green said growth in the sector was being registered as a result of a viable investment climate underwritten by the DAs that the Government signed with the investors.
He said the current mine owners have infact increased their investments and a lot of funding had been generated from enhanced profits. The investments have resulted in copper production doubling to over 500,000 tonnes per year in 2007. Further significant investment were planned.
On the mineral royalties, the mining companies were taken to task as to why they were reluctant to pay what the committee termed the ‘rent to the landlord’ for utilising the land for mining.