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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Foreign copper mines in Zambia are struggling to pay new mining taxes set earlier this year, making it unlikely the country will achieve a $415 million revenue collection target, a senior revenue official said Wednesday.
ZRA Commissioner General Christicles Mwansa said the tax authority had collected just 293.1 billion Zambian kwacha between April and October this year. He blamed falling copper prices and non-compliance on paying tax amounts by some mining firms.
In April, Zambia introduced a 25 percent windfall tax and raised mineral royalty to 3.0 percent from 0.6 percent, triggering complaints from mining companies.
Of the k293.1 billion, k126.0 billion was windfall tax, k22.2 billion was company tax and k144.9 billion was collected as royalty, Mwansa told a news conference.
Mwansa said the ZRA would not collect more windfall tax while the price of copper was below the level the ZRA had set to collect taxes. He could not say what level ZRA had set, and gave no further details.
Copper, used extensively in the power and construction industries, has fallen by about 60 percent since hitting a record high of $8,940 a tonne in July as the global financial crisis began to crimp demand.
Foreign copper mines operating in Zambia include Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Swiss firm Gelncore International AG and Australia’s Equinox Minerals Ltd..
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