The United Kingdom (UK) is optimistic that Zambia will have an influx of mining investors from that country following the recently signed deal on critical minerals.
Zambia is among major copper producers in the world and also has deposits of critical minerals such as cobalt, manganese and nickel.
Last month, UK Foreign Minister, James Cleverly, announced that his country and Zambia had signed a “groundbreaking” Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in mining of critical minerals.
This was aimed at generating US$3.17 billion of British private sector investment in Zambia’s mining, minerals and renewable energy sectors.
Commenting on the deal, Zambian British High Commission Deputy High Commissioner and Development Director, Sam Waldock, pointed out five key focus areas for the agreement.
Waldock named these as; geological mapping, UK investments into the mining sector, supporting environmental, social standards in the mining sector and local content which would help Zambians get maximum benefits from mining sector.
He said this in an interview on Tuesday on the side-lines of the 2023 Zambia Impact Investment Summit (ZIIS23) in Lusaka.
“One of the most exciting things is that we just signed an MoU with Zambia on critical minerals and we happy to provide support to Zambia in five different areas.
“We want the mining sector to produce jobs for Zambia and we want Zambians to take a bigger share of the mining sector to get more value out of it. We are supporting Zambian businesses in the value chains to make sure that when big mining firms come into Zambia they are not international, they are buying Zambian,” he said.
Waldock stated that there were already a number of UK supported mining operations in Zambia that were opened in the last two years.
He announced that more UK investment in the sector were currently in the pipeline.
“We are excited about these. They are still in the pipeline and they require more work to be done, we are very excited about the potential of the mining sector in Zambia.
“We also need to get copper production up and that is where we need the new investments to come in and that is where we are looking at more UK companies coming in,” Waldock said.
He recalled that another deal had been signed with Zambia in 2020 on green growth compact targeting one billion pounds of new investments into the country.
That, he said, had been delivered through different sectors into investing into Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) stating that over US$1 billion investment had been invested.