Latest developments in the mining sector
Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has approved the construction of the US$450 million second acid plant by Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) Plc in Mufulira as part of the current smelter upgrade project. The smelter upgrade project is aimed at enhancing the smelting capacity and the reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions by over 95 per cent. The acid plant has a design production capacity of over 850,000 tonnes per annum which is twice the capacity of the first acid plant which was installed in 2007 and currently captured and converted about 50 per cent of sulphur dioxide emissions.
The upgrade is scheduled to be completed by December 2013.
Mines Minister Yamfwa Mukanga MP says Government will introduce an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Act that will compel all mining firms operating in Zambia to disclose their production figures and all material payments they make :
Zambia is considering improving the legislation so as to strengthen the legal framework by introducing an EITI Act which will among other things institutionalise, protect and ensure that all those institutions such as EITI are fully incorporated and protected....We want to see a situation where this revenue that will be generated as means of our compliance would go into creating more jobs because [this is] part of our campaign promises. As a new government we want to see more money in the pocket of our people and we want to ensure our people have more jobs" (Source : Time of Zambia)
The Government is also considering extending EITI to fisheries and forestry. It is important to get a handle on timber production in particular. Many African countries, including Zambia, are losing out on illegal smuggling and general exploitation.