Following the go-ahead of Equinox Mineral’s Lumwana project in Zambia, the main contract of which was awarded to a joint venture between Ausenco and Bateman, construction activities are ramping up. The long life project will produce an average of 150,000 tonnes a year of copper. The measured and indicated Lumwana resource is 358 million tonnes containing 0.76% copper.

The Ausenco-Bateman joint venture has agreed to a commissioning date for the US$762 million project at the end of the first quarter of 2008. The joint venture’s portion of the contract is worth US$381 million.

The ramp-up of construction activities at Lumwana includes the commencement of the keyway installation for the tails and water storage facilities, completion of the key arterial roads to the various work fronts, i.e. the plant site, heavy industrial area, mine and town. The activities underway involve clearing and stripping activities on the Malundwe pit footprint and the necessary build up in provision of construction accommodation. Long-lead items currently under manufacture, primarily the mining fleet and major plant items, remain on schedule.

Equinox is working with its financiers towards the completion of Lumwana’s debt financing and it expects this to be concluded at the end of the third quarter of this year.