By Nawa Mutumweno – Universal Mining and Chemical Industries Limited (UMCIL) is to invest over $130 million in the development of two iron ore mines and construction of a railway line from Mumbwa (Central Zambia) to Lusaka.
The railway line would be pivotal in addressing transport infrastructure bottlenecks. The two mines would be in Mumbwa and Nampundwe respectively.
According to UMCIL technical director Julius Kaoma, the $130 million investment would be spread over the next three years.
The planned investment covers a feasibility study, geological investigation and the development of the mine in Mumbwa district.
“We plan to build a railway line from Lusaka to Mumbwa and we will also develop a mine in Mumbwa. The railiway line will make it easy for us to move our products between Lusaka and Mumbwa and ease pressure on the roads,” Dr Kaoma explained.
The mine would have the capacity to produce 250 million tonnes of iron ore annually.
The firm would also invest more than $30 million to develop a mine at Sanje Hills (Nampundwe) in Kafue district this year. This investment includes the construction of a road network, resettlement programme and development of the mine.
“We have started the construction of the road and we are working with the Government and in the second half of the year, we have to resettle the people living in the surrounding areas because of the development of the mine,’ he said.
The mine would have capacity of 10 million tonnes of high grade iron ore per year with the project generating employment for 600 people. Universal Mining and Chemical Industries runs a steel plant in Kafue (Lusaka Province) with a production capacity of 100 000 tonnes per year. Iron ore is the main component in steel.