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Muliashi will resume production in 2012

Drill team at
work at Muliashi
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 April 2010 – China Non-Ferrous Metals (CNMC) has announced that it intends starting with the re-development of the Muliashi copper mine in Zambia later this year, after approving a feasibility study.

Company spokesman Sydney Chileya told Reuters here that the results of two feasibility studies had been very positive, with the Muliashi project’s ore reserves estimated to last between 15 and 25 years.

Chileya said that Muliashi “’ which had been forecast to start operating in 2010 before its previous owners had suspended the project “’ would now start production in 2012. Output was expected to be around 60 000 tonnes of copper per year.

“CNMC is happy with the design and construction plans for the Muliashi project, and actual construction of the open pit mine is scheduled to start before the end of this year,” Chileya revealed.

He said the project cost was still estimated at US$300 million (R2.25 billion), and the commencement of mining and treatment of copper concentrates would start in early 2012.

The mine was expected to employ about 1 000 people.

CNMC bought the Muliashi assets together with Baluba copper mine for US$50 million (R375 million) from Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM), which was previously majority owned by Enya Holdings of the United Kingdom.

Enya Holdings, at the height of the global financial crunch in December 2008, shut Baluba mine, one of the southern African country’s oldest copper producers. CNMC took over the running of the mine in May last year.

Baluba resumed output in December after modernising the copper processing plant at a cost of US$70-million (R225 million). The company plans to raise finished copper production to 30 000tpa from the 21 000tpa the mine produced before it was shut down.