LUSAKA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government refused to comment on reports that Canada's mining firm First Quantum Minerals (FQM) had made a bid for the shares it holds in a copper mine because it is not officially in existence.
Reports indicated on Tuesday that the Vancouver-based mining firm had offered the Zambian government 700 million U.S. dollars to buy a 20 percent stake of the Kansanshi Mine in northwestern Zambia.
The government holds 20 percent of the mine through its agency, the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH), while FQM owns the rest.
But Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya said the government could not comment on the matter because it has not been officially approached.
"We are also hearing it through the media and we have not been officially approached. As far as I am concerned, cabinet has not sat down to discuss the matter so it is not there," she told reporters during her weekly press briefing.
According to Siliya, the government has decided to change the mining tax regime after realizing that the country was not getting as much as it had expected from the sector and wondered if handing over the mine wholly to the foreign firm would be accepted by citizens.
Some analysts have said the government could only sell its 20 percent stake when permitted by other shareholders in the ZCCM-IH which is listed both on the Lusaka Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.