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Zambia advances plans to shore up finances as gold to be deemed a strategic metal

ZAMBIA’S plans to shore up its finances took another turn last week after the southern African country amended legislation to make gold a strategic metal.

According to a report by Bloomberg News, the Zambian government will require artisanal miners to sell their gold production to the state-owned mining investment company ZCCM Investments Holdings (ZCCM-IH).

The cabinet approved the amendment of legislation on May 20, Bloomberg News said, citing the mines ministry’s permanent secretary, Barnaby Mulenga.


Zambia wants its national gold production to help the central bank build up the nation’s strategic reserves, the newswire said.

ZCCM-IH has been mandated to coordinate the purchasing and trading business in Zambia. The country mined about 4,000 kilograms of gold in 2018 and is Africa’s second-largest copper producer.

Last week, ZCCM-IH entered into a joint venture with Array Metals, a mining services company, to process production from a gold deposit, said Reuters citing a statement.

The project aims to produce about three tons of gold within the next two years, worth approximately $150m at current prices. Array Metals estimated the reserve at about three million tons of gold ore material containing between 2.5 and 3.5 grams of gold per ton, according to vice president, Chris Rugari.

ZCCM-IH has overseen the construction of 10 milling plants that will help formalise the artisanal gold sector in the country.

Bringing in artisanal gold production from the edges of society is also part of a continent-wide push to tackle the risks associated with secondary gold production including unsafe mining practices and law-breaking.

Zambia’s milling plants will have a combined processing capacity of 30 tons of ore per day and a targeted average of 7.5kg gold production per month. A gold leaching plant with a processing capacity of 8,000 tons of ore material per leach, and a targeted gold production of 17.5 kilograms per month will be completed by June.


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