The copper price is booming. Experts are divided over whether this boom is structural rather than cyclical. It is our considered view, in light of the current evidence, that copper prices will continue to climb due to medium to long-term supply deficits and the comparative inefficiency of copper’s potential substitutes. Very few high-grade copper deposits remain. Once they are exploited, lower-grade jurisdictions such as Zambia will become increasingly attractive. Investment opportunities into Zambia are therefore ripe for bold investors. However, the country presents a challenging operating environment. Only if investors are deeply committed to high impact Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance, will sustained, long-run yields flow. The corollary is that investors should commit to building state institutions that serve the interests of Zambia’s citizens, and crowd out irresponsible players. 

Busisipho Siyobi is the lead researcher in the Natural Resource Governance Programme at GGA. Prior to joining GGA, she headed up the Corporate Intelligence Monitor desk at S-RM Intelligence and Risk Consulting. Busisipho holds an MPhil in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Cape Town with a research focus on CSR within the South African mining industry. During her Masters, she worked as a research scholar at the South African Institute of International Affairs.