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Zambia lifts metal export ban

Reuters reports Zambia has lifted a ban on metal exports just two days after imposing it to sort out revenue collection and increase transparency in Africa’s top copper producer, a minerals ministry official said on Thursday. It’s good news for the Zambian mining sector – a lengthy suspension could have further pressured mines already dealing with volatile metal prices in recent weeks.

Newly elected President Michael Sata has been concerned – analysts say with good reason – about copper exporters misreporting the amount of ore leaving Zambia, and earlier this week suspended export permits, to put new guidelines in place. Cobalt, gold and nickel also fell under the ban and now all export payments need to be routed via the central bank.

“The suspension has been lifted. The job has been done. We don’t need 10 years to do the job,” mines permanent secretary Godwin Beene told Reuters. Zambia’s mining industry aims to double annual copper output to 1.5 million tonnes by 2016, and Sata, who swept to power on the back of voters looking for a bigger share of mining profits, is likely try to wring more revenue from it.