Zambia is Africa’s largest producer of Copper and Cobalt. Although copper production was affected by low copper prices in the late 1990s, Copper production has been increased since 2000. It increased to 572,793 tonnes in 2007 from a low of 256,884 tonnes in 2000, representing an increase of over 100%. The rise in copper production over the years is attributed to investment in rehabilitation of infrastructure and technological innovations in existing mines, the coming on board of new mines and the increase in existing mines, the coming on board of new mines and the increase in small-scale copper mining activities. Copper production has been increasing over the recent past from 575,000 metric tonnes in 2008 to 665,000 metric tonnes in 2009 and to about 700,000 metric tonnes in 2010. This has been due to increased capacity utilisation facilitated by the continued increase in metal prices on the international markets.
The Zambia Development Agency Act provides for incentives for companies investing substantial amounts in the mining sector in the country. The Act provides for the investment thresholds that investors have to meet in order to qualify for fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. Currently the threshold is; investments of US$ 500,000 and above qualify for the incentives.
The general investment incentives applicable to the mining sector are;
- Guaranteed input tax claim for five years on pre-production expenditure for exploration companies in the mining sector.
- Any mining company holding a large-scale mining license carrying on the mining of base metals is taxed at 30%. Other mining companies are taxed at 35%
- Dividend paid by a mining company holding a large-scale mining license and carrying on the mining of base metals is taxed at 0%
- Income earned by companies in the first year of listing on the Lusaka stock exchange qualifies for a 2% discount on the applicable company tax rate, however companies with more than 1/3 of their shareholding in the hands of Zambians qualify for a 7% discount
- Duty free importation of most capital equipment for the mining sectors.
- 100% mining deduction on capital expenditure on buildings, railway lines, equipment, shaft sinking or any similar works.
- The debt to equity ratio reduced from 2:1 to 3:1 to encourage further investment in the sector.