CAPE TOWN Top African copper producer Zambia plans to audit all its mining houses in a bid to dig for back taxes of up to $1 billion it estimates it is owed, its mines minister said on Tuesday.
Such a policy by the government of populist president Michael Sata would widen an initiative launched by the previous administration and comes against the backdrop of a surge of resource nationalism across Africa and Zambias own doubling of copper royalties to 6%.
We need to look at what the mining industry has been giving. What we have been told by the World Bank and others is that we did not collect adequate tax, Wylbur Simuusa said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Cape Town.
Asked what he believed was owed, he said: By our calculations it might be between $500 million and $1 billion.
Simuusa said the government planned to start with the big mining houses and said one audit was imminent, but he declined to name the company.
So we are now actively pursuing this. We intend to audit all the mining houses, but well audit the big ones first, Simuusa said.