AFRICA’S second largest copper producer, Zambia, plans to introduce a law banning the export of unfinished mineral products as the quest for value addition and mineral beneficiation gains momentum across the region.
“We want to curb the unnecessary export of unfinished mineral products. We need to get all exports to be beneficiated within the country and this will come into effect very soon,” Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma told a mining and energy conference on Friday.
Yaluma, quoted by Reuters, said a lot of copper was being exported without being fully processed and that was denying Zambians jobs that would have been created if mining firms invested in processing plants.
He said the government had been talking about local processing for a long time, hence the decision to compel mining companies to do so.
Yaluma said local processing would also ensure proper accountability of mineral exports.
Zimbabwe has already embraced the value addition and beneficiation thrust as espoused in its economic blueprint – the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).
The realisation for robust industrial development anchored on beneficiation, has been endorsed by Sadc and the African Union in the context of increased calls by ordinary citizens in member countries, for economic independence and job creation.
Poor standards of living in the wake of limited job opportunities has been partly attributed to slow economic growth in Africa and overeliance on exports of primary products, that do not earn source countries much.