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ARM seeks African growth

Zambian copper mines
“’ increasing demand
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 31 August 2010 – Diversified mining group African Rainbow Minerals is aggressively pursuing growth opportunities in the rest of Africa, and has announced that it is eyeing two further copper mines in Zambia.

This follows an announcement last Friday that ARM had entered into a joint venture with Brazilian mining giant Vale to develop the Konkola North copper mine in Zambia “’ the South African company’s first investment outside South Africa.

According to chairman Patrice Motsepe, ARM is targeting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe and Zambia as future investment areas which could yield great returns.

“We have been looking at a number of countries within the continent and there are those that stand out,” said Motsepe. He added that ARM was seriously looking into investing in Africa, despite the continent being a mixed bag investment environment.

“Unfortunately, the process might take longer because one has to be satisfied that one has done all the research, conducted a feasibility study and been well prepared before venturing into any country.” Motsepe added.

CEO André Wilkens was particularly bullish about Zambia, saying two further mines in the country were in the pipeline. “The so-called bad times are behind us. We are looking to expand iron ore, manganese and copper which need to grow significantly,” he added.

“ARM will continue to pursue partnerships for new developments,” Wilkens said. “We are always looking for a partnership; that is why we have joint ventures with companies such as Anglo Platinum and Impala.”

The company aims to spend R9.5 billion in expansion projects “’ including local operations “’ over the next three years, after successfully concluding the growth strategy it set itself in 2005 to double production by the end of the 2010 financial year.

An additional R17.9 billion from its partners would be channelled into growing the company as it sought to increase its iron ore, manganese and copper production.