Africa’s biggest copper mine may be up for sale if Zambia’s mining tax impasse isn’t resolved soon. Mineral resources giant Barrick Gold made the announcement about Lumwana Copper Mines, in the country’s North-Western Province, last month. The decision comes in response to the government’s change to the tax regime last year: an increase of 1.5 percentage points in the 4%-6% sliding scale for mining royalties and the introduction of a 10% royalty rate when copper prices rise above $7,500 a ton. Barrick is not the only international miner in the country mulling cutbacks. First Quantum Minerals, the biggest individual taxpayer in Zambia, is transferring its long-serving Zambian chair to Panama, a move that signifies a shift in priorities. The company will continue to operate its two mines, which together accounted for about 473,000t of the country’s 862,000t copper output in 2018, but it announced late last year it would lay off 2,500 staff (it has temporarily shelved this plan, given ...

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