The Government has adopted a pragmatic mineral policy which is designed to enhance investment in the mining industry and to ensure the development of a self-sustaining minerals-based industry. The recent privatization of the copper mining industry, formerly managed under the parastatal umbrella of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd (ZCCM), is a clear demonstration of this intent. Enactment of this policy is being promoted by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development through the technical support available from its three constituent departments – Geological Survey, Mines Development and Mines Safety.
Key objectives of the Government’s Mining Policy, published in 1995, are as follows:
- To make the private sector the principal producer and exporter of
mineral products through putting in place a privatization programme and to promote private sector initiative in the development of new mines in order to increase and diversify mineral and mineral-based products and exports. This will maximize long-term economic benefits to the country.
- To promote the development of the small-scale mining industry which has the potential to significantly contribute to the economy.
- To promote the development of gemstone mining and facilitate liberalized marketing arrangements in order to realize the industry’s potential to contribute to the development of the economy.
- To promote the exploration and exploitation of industrial minerals and energy minerals and to encourage the establishment of a ferrous industry.
- To reduce the danger of ecological damage arising from mining operations as well as damage to the health of workers and inhabitants of the neighbourhood through air, water and land.
- To promote the local processing of mineral raw materials into finished products for added value.
The policy is aimed in particular at encouraging private investment in exploration and in the development of new mines. In addition to returning the major copper mines to the private sector, thus encouraging cost-effective management and greater exploitation of the enormous copper resources, the policy seeks to direct attention to the exploitation of the very diverse range of metalliferous deposits, industrial minerals, gemstones, and energy resources that are present throughout Zambia.
Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development
Policy decisions within the ministry are made by the Minister, assisted by the Deputy Minister. The chief executive is the Permanent Secretary who directs four statutory departments – Geological Survey, Mines Development, Mines Safety and Headquarters, the latter being devoted to administrative matters.
Geological Survey Department
The primary roles of the Geological Survey are to provide geological, geophysical, and geochemical data on a country-wide basis, to prospect on behalf of Government, to act as a national depository of all information relating to the geology of Zambia, and to provide support and advisory services to the public. These are supported by a full spectrum of chemistry, geophysics, geology and cartography laboritories. Follow Zambia Mining Website and stay updated for all investment opportunities in Zambia.
In its role as the national depository for geological information the Geological Survey has accumulated a wealth of maps, publications, reports, and data generated by the Survey staff and also derived from external sources including exploration reports and international journals. These are archived and maintained by the Technical Records office, Archive, and Library which comprise the Information Section. Key data sources include the following:
texts to accompany
1:100 000 geological maps.
- Memoirs and Bulletins of the Geological Survey: descriptions and evaluations of specific geological terrains.
- Economic Reports: descriptions of specific mineral deposits or occurrences of potential economic interest.
- Technical Reports: similar to Economic Reports but often containing an element of technical evaluation.
- Occasional Papers: publications in national and international journals relating to the geology and mineral resources of Zambia.
- Minex Reports: produced by the exploration arm of Zimco Ltd., a parastatal mining and exploration group, and describing mineral occurrences and exploration activities.
- Geochemical Data: stream-sediment, soil, and rock samples analysed for selective suites of trace elements and resulting from three major initiatives – the Regional Geochemical Mapping Project, the Metallogenic Province Mapping Project, and the Granitoid Geochemistry Project, which have generated data for approximately 30% of Zambia. These data have been digitized, together with some data incorporated from company exploration reports, and are available on disk.
- Geophysical Data: a reconnaissance-scale Bouguer anomaly map of the whole of Zambia published at a scale of 1:1 500 000 with contour intervals of 5 milligals; complete airborne magnetic coverage of Zambia and 70% radiometric coverage at line spacings of between 800 m and 2000 m and mean terrain clearance of 150 m. The magnetic and radiometric surveys were undertaken in the 1970’s and so are mostly not up to present-day standards, but the data are valuable for undertaking preliminary geological assessments of areas. The data are stored as contoured transparency maps.
- Mineral Inventory Database: the Geological Survey has an ongoing commitment to the preparation of a computerized database comprizing the c.350 mineral deposits and occurrences listed in a major compilation prepared by Watts, Griffis and McOuat (1991) on behalf of ZCCM.
A search-service is available to the public or the database can be purchased on disk. Copies of the substantial compilation by Watts, Griffis and McOuat can also be purchased from the ZCCM Operations Centre at Kalulushi. Additionally, ZCCM’s Technical Services Department can provide access to their extensive archive of company reports and also permit examination and limited sampling of their enormous drill-core repository.
Mines Development Department
Key responsibilities for the Mines Development Department are the issuance of all prospecting, retention and mining licences, together with the monitoring of mining operations to ensure that development is in line with approved programmes of operations and in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act. The Department also issues Gemstones Sales Certificates and undertakes reconnaissance surveys, demarcation of plots, placement of beacons and mine pit surveys.
Mines Safety Department
The Department is divided into four technical sections – Mining, Explosives, Machinery and Environment – which variously enforce the relevant legislative and statutory instruments, formulate new legislation and regulations, evaluate all aspects of safety in mining operations, offer technical advice and training, and offer exemptions from the relevant regulations where appropriate.