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First Quantum confirms receiving 76.5B kwacha tax bill from Zambia

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. said March 20 that it received a 76.5 billion Zambian kwacha tax bill from the Zambian Revenue Authority for the alleged underpayment of customs duties.

The company, however, refuted the assessment, saying it "does not appear to have any discernable basis of calculation." It will continue to work with the authority to resolve the issue.

Reuters earlier reported that the regulator issued the bill to an unnamed "prominent mining company" for classifying imported goods as mining machinery, which attract no custom duty.

The duty on items other than mining machinery falls between 15% and 25%, the authority noted, adding that the firm had been engaging in such a practice for the last five years.

"We have since notified both the mining and the clearing agent of this unacceptable act of cheating," the authority said in a statement.

First Quantum owns a majority interest in the Kansanshi copper mine in Zambia.

As of March 20, US$1 was equivalent to 9.59 Zambian kwacha.