Luanshya, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 May 2009 – The government of Zambia – which is Africa’s top copper producer – has selected a Chinese company to run one of the country’s major mines, widening China’s influence in the sector at a time when the metal is rising ahead of a probable global economic recovery.
President Rupiah Banda announced here that China’s NFC Africa would be taking a majority stake in the closed Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM), which will reopen later in May.
The previous owners had shut the mine in December and had said that the company’s Chambishi Metals Plc and Baluba copper mine units had been making losses due to lower metal prices, leading to job losses.
The Zambian leader revealed that NFC Africa had been chosen to run Luanshya ahead of two other bidders — Luanshya Mineral Resources and London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc.
“It is now with great pleasure that I announce the sale of an 85% shareholding to China Non-ferrous Metals Mining – commonly known as NFCA,” Banda told the mine’s former workers here. “So you miners can go back to work again by the end of this month. And we expect new jobs to be created when the development works are done at the Mulyashi project,” he said.
LCM – which was a joint venture of the Bein Stein Resources Group (BSRG) and International Mineral Resources (IMR) – also shut down Chambishi Metals Plc, Zambia’s largest cobalt producer, and retrenched 1 700 miners.