Zambia plans to limit mining licences firms can hold at a single time

ZAMBIA will limit the number of mining licences a mining company can hold at one time in order to curb speculation and promote investment, said Reuters.

Citing Paul Kabuswe, Zambia’s mines minister, the news agency said an audit of mining licences held by firms confirmed its concerns of a concentration of properties owned by certain firms.

“Initial process audit findings have confirmed our fears that some companies own too many mining rights, using either a single or multiple companies with the same beneficial owners,” Kabuswe told a news briefing.

The ministry of mines last month suspended the issuance of mining licenses and commissioned an audit in response to public complaints about a lack of transparency and abuse in Zambia’s licensing system, which is being digitalised, Reuters said.

The audit, which is ongoing, revealed that some companies owned as many as 50 licences. It also found that some were not registered with Zambia’s patents and companies registration agency and may not be paying tax, Reuters said.

“This has ended up promoting speculation in the mining sector instead of investment,” the minister said. Kabuswe declined to name the firms involved, saying those holding multiple licences were mostly small and medium-sized.

The Zambian government will issue an order restricting the number of mining rights that the same beneficial owners can hold at any given time, Kabuswe said, without providing details on when this might happen or on what the upper limit will be.