By HELEN ZULU -
THE Government projects increased revenue collection through taxes from the mines because of the rising copper prices on the international market.
Prices of copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) are currently hovering around US$ 7, 200 a tonne.
Mines and Minerals development Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda said Government was happy that copper prices were rising as most mining companies were now making profits which would lead to Government collecting more money through taxes.
Mr Chanda said in an interview in Lusaka that the rise in copper prices was expected to motivate the mines to boost production as they were making profits.
“We are happy with the prices of copper because it means that the economy will also pick. Our mines are now making profits, implying that the country is now benefiting more as we are able to collect more taxes through corporate tax, from their profits and of course royalty because most of them are actually ramping up production because they have an opportunity,” Mr Chanda said.
He said Government was expecting each and every mine to take advantage of the situation and increase production to higher levels to make more profits which would in turn benefit the country.
Mr Chanda further cautioned the mines not to neglect the safety standards as they ramped up their production to avoid accidents.
“I would like to caution the mines that actually with this attraction or motivation to expand they should not neglect safety because as you want more of copper you want to quickly expand and you might forget the safety standards that have to be maintained we do not want to lose any lives.
“When you look at what happened last year, we had less fatalities than what we had the other year 2016, … we are not happy about it because we expect to have zero fatalities…,” Mr Chanda said.