Lusaka — Zambian President Edgar Lungu wants his tax authority and First Quantum Minerals to speedily resolve a disputed $7.9bn tax bill that the copper producer received this week, his spokesperson said. Shares in the Vancouver-based company gained on the news. "It’s a policy of the government not to interfere with independent assessments made by the tax authority," Amos Chanda said by phone on Wednesday from the capital, Lusaka. "All we do is to encourage quick negotiation of the parties to get to an agreement quickly so that there are no anxieties on both sides." Shares in First Quantum, which derives 84% of its revenue from Zambia and accounts for more than half of the country’s copper production, fell 12% in Toronto on Tuesday, after it announced the tax authority had demanded the payment. The company "completely refutes" the assessment, which includes $5.7bn of interest, CEO Philip Pascall said on a call with investors Wednesday. The stock regained some ground on Wednesday, cl...

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