The Zambian government said on Wednesday that it was willing to negotiate with mining firms on the five percent duty on imported copper concentrates after an outcry.

Last year, the government imposed a five percent duty on cobalt and copper concentrate imported into the country, a move that caused mining firms to complain and warned of reduced investment in the sector.

Minister of Finance Bwalya Ngandu said following complaints from the mining firms, the government has decided relook at the matter together with other stakeholders.

The government was concerned at the prospects of jobs and revenue losses in the mining sector as a result of mining firms cutting down on production or relocating elsewhere, he said.

“This matter is very active and we will soon make an announcement”, he said in his state of the economy address.

The Zambian minister however revealed that the government was forced to impose the tax after realizing that mining firms had stopped local production of copper concentrates but were just importing from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Last month, one of the mining firms, Chambishi Metals Plc owned by Eurasia Resources Group, halted operations at its cobalt-copper refinery plant, saying it was finding it difficult to secure materials from firms in the DRC due to a new 5-percent duty on cobalt and copper concentrates. Enditem

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