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Chinese to invest in Zambian copper

Zambian copper “’ more
Chinese investment
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 July 2009 – A Chinese firm is planning to invest about US$3.6 billion (R28 billion) in copper exploration and mining in Zambia, reflecting the growing Chinese interest in the mineral wealth of the Southern African country.
Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) spokeswoman Margaret Chimanse said Zambia and the Zhonghui Mining Group had signed the investment agreement.

“The $3.6 billion will be invested by Zhonghui in the first five years from 2009, and it is likely to be increased, depending on economic factors affecting the copper industry,” she told Reuters.

Chimanse said the Chinese firm also planned to construct a major copper smelter in Kitwe, 350 km north of the capital, and added that exploration of minerals by Zhonghui in the Northwestern and Copperbelt provinces of Zambia had already started.

Industry officials said the smelter’s capacity could be 300 000 tonnes per year.

Chimanse went on to say that Zhonghui Mining Group would set up projects to be implemented by its Zambian-registered subsidiaries for copper mining and exploration in the Southern African country.

“The total number of jobs to be created directly by all the projects is 32 425. The project for copper refining will create 1 200 jobs," she said.

The Chinese are currently developing mining infrastructure in Zambia, and in March they commissioned another 300 000 tonnes per year copper smelter in Chambishi, where up to 50 Chinese companies will begin to operate, under a separate US$900 million (R7 billion) programme.

Zambian authorities are waiving a 25% customs duty on imported equipment, 16.5% value added tax, and several other taxes for Chinese companies investing in the Chambishi economic zone.