Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 May 2009 – First Quantum Minerals Limited – a growing mining and metals company whose principal activities include mineral exploration, development and mining in Africa – plans to restart copper production at its closed Bwana Mkubwa processing plant once it receives the go-ahead to open a new mine in central Zambia.
In an environmental assessment document submitted to the state-run Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) First Quantum said it intended to start mining at the Fishtie mine, but no timeline was given.
“First Quantum Minerals intends to mine in the Mkushi district by open pit mining methods, and the mined ore will be transported to the Bwana Mkubwa processing plant in Ndola for processing,” said the document seen by Reuters.
The company – which also operates the Kansanshi copper mine and has a minority stake in Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) – shut down the Bwana Mkubwa plant in October 2008, after authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had banned exports of copper ore to Zambia. First Quantum had been mining copper at Lonshi mine in the DRC for processing at Bwana Mkubwa.
The new document submitted to the ECZ said First Quantum intended to mine three million tonnes of copper ore at Fishtie copper deposit in Mkushi, about 275 km north-east of Lusaka.
The mine’s life was estimated at 27 months at an ore production rate of 100 780 tonnes per month, the document added.
Copper mining is the economic mainstay of the southern African country of 12 million people, and mines are a major employer.