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Konkola launches new copper project

Casting at KCM’s
new Nchanga smelter
in Zambia
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 09 October 2009 – Zambia’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) “’ a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc “’ has launched a copper reclamation project which is expected to add 24 000 tonnes to the company’s annual output.

Quoting The Times of Zambia, Reuters reports that KCM director of operations Jeya Kumar confirmed that Konkola expected to produce 2 000 tonnes of finished copper per month from the slag dump in Chingola in the mineral-rich Copperbelt, about 322 km north-west of Lusaka.

Speaking during the launch of the US$10 million (R80 million) project, Kumar said KCM had employed 100 workers at the dump, the second such reclamation operation. The first is expected to be closed soon after two years of operation.

“This is the cheapest form of extracting copper, and this project has a life span of 15 years. We feel it is one of the ways of sustaining production,” Kumar added.

Without giving a timeframe, Kumar said KCM “’ the southern African country’s largest copper producer “’ also planned to restart operations at its Fitwaola mine, which was closed last year when copper prices fell.

He pointed out that KCM was steadily picking up from the effects of the global financial crisis, which had forced some mining companies in Zambia to scale down operations and others to suspend output. “When the Fitwaola mine is re-opened we shall create more jobs because we are looking at engaging 300 employees to work there,” Kumar said.

KCM plans to more than double output to 305 000 tonnes of copper cathode in 2009, after launching a new business plan. This is more than double the 140 000 tonnes of copper produced in 2008, and is almost half of Zambia’s total projected copper production of 664 000 tonnes in 2009.

The mining company also planned to re-start cobalt production, which it stopped several years ago, with cobalt output planned at 5 000 tonnes per year.