By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Zambia’s Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development has rejected a proposal by diversified mining company Glencore to place its loss-making Mopani Copper Mines under care and maintenance.
Mopani has been under extreme pressure as a result of weak copper prices and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Glencore said in a statement in March that it will review its operations with the aim to minimise cash outflows and suspend all non-essential projects. “These measures will give the company the necessary financial flexibility to navigate the downturn,” Glencore said.
The Zambian government is embroiled in several running battles with foreign mining companies operating in the country, as it tightens the screws on the mining industry. The regulatory environment and the ease of doing business in Zambia has become difficult to negotiate over the last year or two, and this will be exacerbated by the Coronavirus crisis.
Perceptions of Zambia as an investment destination have dropped by 28 places to 58 in the latest Frasers Institute survey. The strain faced by Glencore and other mines would further affect Zambia’s copper outlook.