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LUSAKA, June 17 (Reuters) - Zambia's Chamber of Mines on Wednesday called for the introduction of one royalty tax rate for all mining operations to attract investment in Africa's No.2 copper producer.
Zambia's government set the royalty tax rate for open cast and underground mining at 9 percent in April, rowing back from earlier plans to charge as much as 20 percent.
However, the state said on June 5 that it would cut mineral royalties for underground mines to 6 percent because underground mining was more expensive than open cast mining.
Zambia would be the only country in the world to enforce different royalty rates based on mining method, the chamber, which represent mining companies operating in Zambia said.
"A two-tiered rate, differentiated by mining method, is not conducive to the long-term health of the industry and government revenues," the chamber said in a statement.
"It does not address the need for continued investment in the country's mines, nor does it address the fact that there are some open cast mines with higher operating costs than underground mines and vice versa."
The chamber said it maintained its recommendation that the 2014 fiscal regime, when the mineral royalty was at 6 percent for both underground and open cast mines, should be restored.
Some of the foreign mining companies in Zambia include Glencore, Barrick Gold Corp, Vedanta Resources and Canada's First Quantum Minerals. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia)