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New copper mine for Zambia

The conveyor system
at Bwana Mkuwa
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 July 2009 – The government of Zambia has approved a plan by First Quantum Minerals to open a new copper mine in central Zambia to provide feedstock for its suspended Bwana Mkubwa processing plant.

Resident director Kwalela Lamaswala said here that the state-run Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) had authorised the company to set up the Fishtie mine, some 275 km north-east of the capital.

“The management of Bwana Mkubwa will now have to do a detailed report on the various options available before deciding how to proceed,” Lamaswala told Reuters. “It is too early to say when we shall start investing in the new mine.”

The ECZ said Canada’s First Quantum plans to mine 2.4 million tonnes of copper ore at the Fishtie deposit to supply feedstock to the Bwana Mkubwa processing plant at an estimated feed rate of 100 000 tonnes per month.

First Quantum had said in an environmental assessment document submitted to the ECZ that the proposed open pit mine would cover an area of approximately 30 squ km.

The company “’ which also operates the Kansanshi copper mine and has a minority stake in Mopani Copper Mines “’ shut the Bwana Mkubwa plant in October last year after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had banned exports of copper ore to Zambia. It had been mining copper at the Lonshi mine inside the DRC for processing at Bwana Mkubwa.