LUSAKA, July 19 (Reuters) – Zambia’s state-owned investment arm will run mines as an operator rather than a minority investor in future investments, a executive said on Sunday, as the government seeks a more active role in mining assets it holds.
ZCCM-Investment Holding (ZCCM-IH), controlled by Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is a mining investment arm of Africa’s second largest copper producer.
“What we have asked ZCCM-IH to do is too seek its own mines, do explorations and develop mining operations,” Mateyo Kaluba, chief executive of IDC, said in a statement.
ZCCM-IH should have a higher stakes in mining ventures of the future, Kaluba said.
Mining, which contributes more than 10% to Zambia’s economy, is also the nation’s largest foreign exchange earner.
ZCCM-IH has minority shares in mines including First Quantum Mines’s Kansanshi Mine and Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines with highest stake in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) where it has 20.6% and Vedanta Resources 79.4%
“We are not averse to them getting into partnerships but those partnership must be balanced. Most of the partnerships that ZCCM-IH has right now are not balanced because the stakes are very small minorities,” Kaluba said.
Lately, ZCCM-IH has ramped up its exploration efforts and have commissioned new mines in gold and manganese.
“We are confident that we’ll see it taking stronger positions in copper mining and many other minerals in the country,” Kaluba said.
It has already done so in gold and manganese mines.
Kaluba was on a tour of a new manganese mine – Kabundi Resources – owned by ZCCM-IH in central Zambia.
Kabundi Resources, which has started its first phase of mining, aims to reach an output of 240,000 tonnes of manganese ore annually once commercial production is achieved. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Promit Mukherjee)