Zambia was withholding $600 million (R6.3 billion) in VAT refunds owed to copper mining companies and would repay it only when they produced import certificates from destination countries, Mining Minister Christopher Yaluma said yesterday. The government started last year to enforce the 2008 requirement intended to curb tax avoidance. However, the companies said they often could not comply because they sold metal via middlemen. They include the local units of First Quantum Minerals, Vedanta Resources, Barrick Gold and Glencore. Yaluma said the companies had started producing the documentation this month after meeting Finance Ministry officials. The companies were unable to comment immediately. – Reuters