First Quantum Minerals paid more than US$533 million (K5.6 billion) in taxes to the Zambian government in 2018, with an additional US$10 million spent on community and infrastructure projects.
Contributions to the nation’s coffers accounted for two thirds of the global company’s worldwide tax payments, according to its just-published 2018 Tax Transparency and Contributions to Government Report, a legal requirement under Canada’s Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA) and Chapter 10 of the EU Accounting Directive.
The 2018 Tax Transparency and Contributions to Government Report highlights First Quantum’s contributions to host Governments, which helps to illustrate the positive impact the company strive to create everywhere they do business,” said the report.
During the year, FQM paid US$144 million in income tax to the Zambian Revenue Authority, US$197 million in mineral royalties, US$73 million in PAYE, US$8 million in withholding tax and US$90 million in consumption and import taxes.
The company’s Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi accounted for US$315 million of the payments – 58 percent of the total payments to Zambia, while its Trident project, including Sentinel Mine at Kalumbila, accounted for 28 percent or US$150 million, a figure that reflected that the mine only began commercial operation in 2016 and has yet to turn a profit.
FQM’s tax payments in Zambia during the year represented 14 percent of the country’s budgeted tax revenue of K41 billion (US$3.9 billion) for 2018.
The calculations are based on the average exchange rate for the year of K10.4781/US dollar.
And FQM Chief Financial Officer Hannes Meyer said the company knows that success is dependent on the wellbeing of the economies and communities where their businesses operate.
He said the company also believe that transparency can help stakeholders to understand the economic benefits generated by their activities, and how those benefits are distributed for local, regional and national economic and social development.
Mr Meyer said therefore, FQM strives to ensure that their disclosures are transparent, consistent, accessible and presented in a way that is easily understood.
He also explained that First Quantum’s investments are large and involve significant amounts of upfront capital.
“First Quantum believes that, to attract capital to make these large scale multi-year investments, it is essential for tax policy to be stable and consistent and that agreements are respected.
In 2018, FQM’s contributions under ESTMA reporting standards amounted to US$527 million. Compared to 2017, tax payments increased by 54 percent, mostly attributable to Kansanshi, while royalty payments increased by 23 percent, mostly due to stronger copper production from Sentinel Mine and higher copper prices.
First Quantum’s approach to tax and royalty payments reflects its underlying core values which focuses on building open and transparent relationships with the tax authorities in those countries.