Zambia to Amend Exploration, Production Law

, Jan 30, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The Zambian government is set to amend its 1985 exploration and production law by the end of the first quarter ahead of inviting tenders to explore for oil and gas, state media quoted Zambia's minister of mines and minerals development as saying Wednesday.

Kalombo Mwansa told a national petroleum development seminar in the capital Lusaka that amending the law would enable the government to provide separate prospecting and production rights to mining investors and strengthen provisions aimed at protecting the environment.

In 2006, Zambia announced it had discovered oil and gas in its northwestern province. The country has since demarcated oil exploration blocks in the province and will soon invite companies to explore for crude.

Zambia's mining sector is currently dominated by copper and cobalt mining, but in recent years other minerals have been discovered, including nickel, zinc and lead.

Increased mining activities have also led to increasing mining pollution.

In recent years, Zambia has been revising laws in the mining sector in order to benefit more from its natural resources - last week the minister of finance announced the country would start charging a 25% windfall tax on all mining companies, taxes and royalties for companies mining base metals were also increased.

Incentives and tax breaks companies have been enjoying since the 1990s have also been scraped.

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