The government of Zambia ‒ Africa’s biggest copper producer ‒ is to restore a 10% export tax for unprocessed metals less than a month after it removed the levy.

Bloomberg News reports that President Michael Sata has ordered the government to repeal the law that removed the tax in comments broadcast on state-owned ZNBC. Treasury secretary Fredson Yamba confirmed the decision by phone.

“In 49 years of independence, you are exporting soil,” Sata said. “If not for the forefathers who died on the mines in the 1943 strikes, you would not be where you are today.”

Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda halted export taxes on October 4 for unprocessed metals including copper, nickel, zinc, lead, silver and uranium, after mining companies had complained that Zambia lacked smelting capacity. African Rainbow Minerals Limited, First Quantum Minerals Limited and Barrick Gold Corporation have operations in the country.

The Chamber of Mines of Zambia is “extremely concerned” about recent policies targeting the industry, President Emmanuel Mutati said in a recent e-mailed statement..

“If not urgently addressed, the combined effect of the measures threatens the viability of the mining sector and makes it extremely vulnerable to collapse in the current volatile commodity cycle,” he added.

Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.