The government of Zambia has suspended of issuance of mining licenses. Minister of Mines Paul Kabuswe made the announcement and said the move aims to fight corruption in the sector.
“The 30-day suspension from Feb. 23 to March 23, is meant to allow for the cleaning up of the system and establishing the exact point of corruption. Due to the technical nature of this assignment, the work will be undertaken by a cross-function internal team of officers with high integrity and competence from internal audit. The suspension could be extended for another month depending on the extent of the problem and the magnitude of work,” Kabuswe said.
Kabuswe observed that the new government inherited a rotten system which has led to perpetuation of corrupt practices, adding that the suspension period will be used to correct the situation for the benefit of both local and foreign investors.
“The ministry will in the next one month undertake an extensive audit on mining rights, a work-study on the processes at the department, and internal reorientation for members of staff,” Kabuswe said.
Zambia has a long history of mining and a large known resource base of copper, emeralds, and other deposits. It also has very good potential for further discoveries. Mining accounts for 12% of Zambia´s GDP and 70% of total export value.
The sector is also a significant source of government revenue and formal employment, both directly and indirectly. Continuing to attract investment in the sector is crucial to the country’s growth since it constitutes 62% of foreign direct investment.