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Baluba copper mine to resume operations

Zambian copper
miner at work
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 05 August 2009 – The Baluba copper mine in Zambia is to resume operations in December once its owners have completed rehabilitation work and replaced obsolete machinery.

Announcing this development here, Sydney Chileya “’ the spokesman for NFC Africa, a subsidiary of China Non-Ferrous Metals Corp. (CNMC), which has control over Baluba mine “’ said US$60 million (R480 million) was being spent on upgrading the mine.

Baluba is a unit of Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM), in which CNMC has an 85% stake, while the balance is held by Zambia’s state-run ZCCM-IH.

“After the machinery has been replaced and upgraded, underground development at Baluba should start in readiness for the resumption of production by December,” Chileya told Reuters by telephone from Luanshya, 320 km north of the Zambian capital.

CNMC took over the operations of the Baluba and Mulyashi copper project “’ which was due to start producing 60 000 tonnes of copper in 2010 “’ and said it would spend US$400 million (R3.2 billion) to develop Mulyashi and re-start operations at Baluba.

“Spending of the initial US$60 million (R480 million) will start this month, and we are confident that this cash injection will bring the mine back into production," Chileya said.

LCM was previously a joint venture of the Bein Stein Resources Group (BSRG) and International Mineral Resources (IRM), which placed the mine under care and maintenance in December before CNMC purchased it for US$50 million (R400 million).

Chileya said development studies at Mulyashi would begin after production at Baluba copper mine had resumed. He added that development of the Mulyashi project would start early next year, but he gave no further details.