The Lumwana copper
project in north-
western Zambia
 
Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 July 2008 – Canadian (Toronto) and Australian-listed Equinox Minerals Limited – an international exploration and mine development company – says production at its Lumwana copper project in north-western Zambia will probably be delayed past its expected starting date later this month. The project could be delayed by up to four months.

A statement issued here and in Perth confirmed a fire had damaged a power transformer and substation at the facility, and that the company “anticipates a delay to project completion and handover as a result of this incident.”

Lumwana – which industry experts say will be Africa’s largest open pit copper mine – was to start partial production towards the end of this month, and to average 169 000 tpa of copper concentrate over its first five years of output.

Contacted by Reuters, Equinox vice-president of investor relations Kevin van Niekerk said the company could not be specific about the delay until it received more information from the contractor building the project. “When we receive from them their advised change of schedule we will inform the market,” he added.

Bloomberg News reports that the company will need to buy new equipment to replace fire damage to the main transformer

“We don’t know exactly what caused it and we don’t know exactly how long it will take to rectify,” chief financial officer Michael Klessens said by phone from Perth. Bloomberg reports that replacement of the damaged transformer could take as long as four months.

“Certainly if it’s that sort of length of time it would obviously delay things,” Klessens said. “We are hopeful of sourcing something sooner than that. We will know something more over the next few days.”