By Nawa Mutumweno – Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is to inject fresh investments in its operations of about $1 billion to raise copper output to 400 000 tonnes per annum by 2012.
The mining giant’s chief executive officer Kishore Kumar disclosed thay these investments to take place in the next three to four years would focus on expansion and upgrade to propel KCM into the major global copper producer realm.
Funds would be spent on the Chingola Refractory Ore project, development of the bottom shaft loading facility at the Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP), East and West Mill upgrades at Nchanga in Chingola and on exploration.
“We see the need to invest another $1 billion in the next three to four years. It is our desire that our operations must expand beyond the existing boundaries, additional areas will be required to carry out exploration for increasing the mineral resource base,” he pointed out.
He was speaking at an International Mining Industry Conference and Exhibition held in Chingola recently.
KCM’s mine life, which was recently extended to 2035 from 2012, after developing new projects, including the KDMP, expected to come on stream in 2012, would be further boosted through these projects.
The firm was already spending millions of dollars to repair some old infrastructure and reinforce existing pipelines with new ones to help the country’s largest mining operation address the disposal of waste more effectively.
With such endeavours, Zambia would raise its copper production, thus ranking among major global copper producers such as Chile.
The country’s copper output is expected to reach one million tonnes by 2012 from a projected 700 000 tonnes in 2010. This is on the backdrop of major expansions and upgrades by mining companies such as KCM and other foreign miners operating in the southern African country.
KCM is seeking ways of ensuring local beneficiation of copper in a bid to add value and to help create more jobs and wealth. Local processing of copper can be enhanced through new industries planned for multi-facility economic zones (MFEZs).
The company which is providing training support to young Zambian in metallurgy, is keen to help with more training to plug the skills shortage mines are facing. KCM has partnered with South African and Indian firms to help train Zambians in various artisan and craft skills at local and international institutions.
Speaking at the same event, Mines and Minerals Development deputy minister Boniface Nkhata commended KCM for the planned dual-listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE), adding that the decision will help spread ownership of the firm to ordinary Zambians and create wealth for citizens.
“As government, we are delighted at KCM’s recently-announced intention to list in London as well as on the Lusaka Stock Exchange, a first for a Zambian mining company. This is further proof of its commitment to gaining the country the global recognition that it deserves,” he elaborated.