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Chinese and Indians eye Luanshya operation in Zambia

LCM’s flotation
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Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 January 2009 – Chinese investors and Indian companies have expressed their interest in taking over the Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) operation in Zambia, in the wake of the company halting operations last month.

LCM – which operates the Baluba copper mine and Chambishi Metals Plc, Zambia’s largest cobalt producer – cited difficulties arising from the global financial crisis as the reason for the halt.

Zambian president Rupiah Banda, confirmed here that the government was in talks with LCM to chart a way forward, and that it had received expressions of interest from Chinese and Indian companies to operate the troubled mine.

“The Chinese and the Indians are the ones with money available to invest in Zambian mines. They have shown interest in coming to invest in this industry,” Banda told newsmen here.

“We are having talks with LCM management to ensure that the whole thing is not a mess,” he added.

Copper is Zambia’s biggest export and the mining industry – a major employer – is struggling with the fall in global metal prices.

LCM – a joint venture of International Mineral Resources and Bein Stein Group Resources – has also suspended its new US$354 million (R3.5 billion) Mulyashi project while reviewing its viability.