Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 October 2008 – India’s Sandesara Group has signed an agreement with the Zambian authorities to invest an initial US$100 million (R800 million) in the country’s copper mining industry and in oil exploration.
Reporting from the Zambian capital Reuters quoted commerce and trade minister Felix Mutati as saying Sandesara had been in talks with the government and some foreign mining companies in a bid to revive small mining operations at some existing copper mines, before venturing into greenfield mining of copper and cobalt.
Zambian government officials point out that some copper units have been abandoned by larger mining companies which own huge mining areas, but exploit only small portions of those holdings.
“This commitment we have entered into allows the Sandesara Group to invest an initial amount of US$100 million (R800 million) in mining and related activities. It is a platform for their expansion in Zambia,” Mutati told journalists in Lusaka.
He said the Sandesara Group would process copper initially from some abandoned units of foreign mining firms operating in Zambia, and later commence exploration for minerals in order to start new operations in the mineral-rich country.
“We are in discussions with various other investors whose assets are laying idle in order to bring them into production,” Mutati explained, but he declined to name the foreign mining firms adding, “it is premature for now.”
Sandesara Group chairman Nitin Sandesara said his company, which operates oil and gas facilities in India and other countries, would also seek to invest in power generation in Zambia in the long term.“But we plan to start our operations with copper mining before we can move on to other minerals and look at oil and gas,” Sandesara added.