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Chinese to invest US$400 million in Zambia

Luanshya copper
mine in Zambia
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 June 2009 – China Nonferrous Metal Mining Corp. (CNMC) has pledged to invest US$400 million (R3.2 billion) in Zambia’s Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) after formally taking over the running of the operations.

Revealing this here, mines and minerals development minister Maxwell Mwale said CNMC would also develop the Mulyashi project, which previous owners of LCM had said could start producing 60 000 tonnes of copper cathode by 2010.

“It is the expectation of the government that CNMC will invest no less than US$400 million (R3.2 billion) in re-opening Baluba mine and developing the Mulyashi project,” Mwale said during the ceremony to hand over the mine to CNMC. He pointed out that the re-opening of the Baluba mine would make it possible to re-employ some of the 1 740 miners who had been laid off after the mine had been placed on care and maintenance at the end of last year.

Both Baluba and Mulyashi are part of LCM – a joint venture of International Mineral Resources (IMR) and Bein Stein Resources Group (BSRG) – which also operated Chambishi Metals Plc, Zambia’s largest cobalt producer.

CNMC vice president Tao Xinghu said the company would re-open Baluba and develop Mulyashi as soon as possible, but he gave no timeframe. “For Mulyashi, we need to carry out a new study and to compile a new development plan,” he explained.

Xinghu also revealed that the company had commissioned the Chambishi smelter after a US$520 million (R4.1 billion) investment in the operation and its support facilities. The smelter – with an annual capacity of 150 000 tonnes – would help Zambia increase its output, estimated to reach 600 000 tonnes in 2009.

“Our investment in Zambia and in Luanshya is aimed at long-term development, rather than short-term profits,” he added.