Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 January 2010 – Listed on the Toronto and London Stock Exchanges, First Quantum Minerals Limited “’ a company engaged in mineral exploration, development and mining, predominantly in Africa “’has resumed copper production at its Bwana Mkubwa processing plant in Zambia after sourcing raw material from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Zambian mines minister Maxwell Mwale revealed that Bwana Mkubwa had resumed output, using feedstock from Lonshi mine in the DRC, after authorities had lifted the ban on copper ore exports which had forced the closure of the plant in October 2008.
“The Bwana Mkubwa processing plant resumed production and will have operations for about 11 months because it is relying on a small remnant of an ore body at Lonshi mine in the DRC,” Mwale told Reuters. “It will have to look for an alternative source of ore when it exhausts the ore body at Lonshi,” he added.
Bwana Mkubwa technical services manager Andries Scott said the company expected to produce about 10 000 tonnes of copper cathode in 2010.
“We produced close to 50 000 tonnes of copper cathode at peak in 2006, but this year we should be able to get to close to 10 000 tonnes,” he predicted.
First Quantum resident director Kwalela Lamaswala said the company hoped to find a new source of copper ore to keep Bwana Mkubwa running after Lonshi mine was closed.
“What is important at this stage is the fact that we have started production. We are looking at several options, including the opening of Fishtie mine, for sustained future production,” he added, without giving further details.
In July last year Zambia approved First Quantum’s plan to open a new copper mine in central Zambia to provide feedstock for the Bwana Mkubwa processing plant. First Quantum plans to mine 2.4 million tonnes of copper ore at the Fishtie deposit to supply feedstock to the Bwana Mkubwa plant at an estimated feed rate of 100 000 tonnes for month, according to official data.