Zambian Minister of Mines and Development Kalombo Mwansa has said the country will in the next three years reclaim its position in the world as one of the leading producers of copper and cobalt.
Minister Mwansa was quoted by local media as saying here on Tuesday that the sector has in the past years recorded increased investment especially in the plant and rehabilitation sectors.
He told the parliament that his ministry is working with key players in the industry to ensure that there is proper accountability of the mining resources.
The mineral royalties of the copper-producing country has reduced to 0.6 percent of gross earning from 3 percent in 1999 and the current rate is the lowest in the world and meant to attract more investors, he said.
The average mineral royalties elsewhere in the world is between 3 and 6 percent, he said, adding that high royalties could discourage investment especially in low-grade deposits.
The minister said the government is working hard to improve production of copper to enable Zambia to stand as the third largest producer in the world.
The southern African country is one of the biggest copper- producing country in the world. Its peak annual output reached 700, 000 tons in mid-1970s and then dropped gradually to 300,000 tons in 1990s.
To reverse the situation, it started privatization of its copper mines by selling most of the mines to foreign companies.
In recent years, due to more foreign investment, good management and advanced technology and increased prices in the international market, its output has gradually picked up to 440, 000 tons in 2005.