LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambian President Edgar Lungu said on Friday those investing in Africa to reap the benefits without paying their dues were not welcome in Zambia, according to a statement issued by the presidency’s office.
Zambia is among many African countries trying to secure greater benefits from rich natural resources being managed by foreign companies. The government has riled miners with tax changes they say will force them to withhold the investment Zambia needs.
Lungu had told a mining and energy conference in Lusaka on Thursday that Zambia would place sanctions on and break ties with mining firms that fail to operate within the confines of the law.
On Friday, the president cited the case of Indian-listed miner Vedanta, currently battling with the government over its Zambian copper business, as an example of where he had told an investor to leave the country, according to a statement giving an overview of his contributions to a panel at a conference in Rwanda.
“Investors that are in Africa to reap without paying their dues are not right for Zambia and should not be allowed to stay,” the statement said.
Zambia’s dispute with Vedanta, which erupted when the government appointed a liquidator to run its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) business on the grounds it had breached its licence, intensified concerns among international miners about resource nationalism in Africa. Zambia is Africa’s second-largest copper producer.
Lungu said on Friday that other investors were already showing interest in the 90,000 tonnes per annum KCM business.
Other mining companies operating in Zambia, Africa second-largest copper producer include First Quantum Minerals, Glencore and Barrick Gold Corp..
Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Emma Rumney and Elaine Hardcastle