Zambia: Mines contribute $7.7M to pollution fund

By Nawa Mutumweno – Mining companies have contributed about $7.7 million to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) which was set to protect the environment from pollution.

According to Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development permanent secretary Godwin Beene, over 40 small and large-scale mines have contributed to the fund since its establishment in 2007.

Dr Beene disclosed this when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs and Labour, which was looking at how much revenue  mining firms are contributing to the national treasury.

One of the objectives of the EPF is to provide protection to the government against the risk of having the obligation to undertake the rehabilitation of a mining area where the holder of a mining licence fails to do so.

About 51 217 jobs have been created in the mining sector as at December 2010 compared to 28 050 at privatisation in 2000.

The recent introduction if the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) will help the country know exactly how much revenue the mining companies are paying to Government.

And Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investments Holdings (ZCCM-IH) has called for the establishment of a Monitoring Unit to enhance the tracking  of actual revenue mining firms are contributing to the country’s treasury.

It was difficult for ZCCM-IH, in the absence of such a body, to know what positive contribution the new investors have made in the post-privatisation era, observed Mr. Williams Musama, ZCCM-IH acting chief executive officer.

“The current law allows the mines to keep their money overseas. That is why ZCCM-IH is calling for the establishing of the monitoring unit which will help track the actual revenues the mines are contributing to the nation,” he pointed out.

He said this when he made a submission to the Committee chaired by Zambezi West Member of Parliament (MP Charles Kakoma. The Committee was looking at the impact of the mining sector since the advent of privatization.