Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 August 2009 – “Zambia’s Baluba copper mine has started blasting for copper after completing most rehabilitation works ahead of the start of full production in December,” said the mine’s new owners, China Non-Ferrous Metals Corporation (CNMC).
Making this announcement here, CNMC also revealed that it would start building a major copper processing plant before developing a new mine “’ the Mulyashi copper project “’ which was due to start producing 60 000 tpa of copper in 2010.
Baluba “’ which was Zambia’s third-largest copper producer until early this decade “’ is a unit of Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM), in which CNMC has a majority stake. CNMC bought LCM for US$50 million (R400 million) in May this year.
NFC Africa chief executive Luo Xingeng confirmed that underground expansion had started after obsolete machinery had been replaced at Baluba, one of Zambia’s oldest copper producers. He said equipment replacement was almost complete.
“The first blasting took place on Sunday morning…the previous investor had exhausted all the developed reserves, and the development being embarked on is both primary and secondary (advanced),” Luo said in a statement.
He added that a study had shown the cost of rehabilitating and replacing equipment at Baluba had risen to US$74 million (almost R600 million) from the previous US$60 million (R480 million) budget, after more damaged equipment had been discovered.
Luo said NFC Africa would focus mainly on developing the Baluba underground mine, and on a major cable used for conveying copper ore from Baluba to the processing plant, as well as upgrading the existing copper processing plant.
CNMC said it planned to spend a total of US$400 million (R3.2 billion) on Baluba and the Mulyashi project. Luo confirmed that NFC Africa had set aside US$300 million (R2.4 billion) to develop Mulyashi, and feasibility studies would be completed by the end of September.
“Designing works will commence immediately after the feasibility studies, and construction works for the Mulyashi processing plant will start in January,"” Luo added.