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Mopani Copper may spend about USD 295 million to sink new shaft at its Nkana mine

Steel News - Published on Wed, 27 Apr 2011

Mopani Copper Mines, a unit jointly owned by Glencore AG International and First Quantum Minerals may spend about USD 295 million to sink a new shaft at its Nkana mine site in Kitwe and increase the life span of the project in Zambia’s rich copper region to 25 years.

Mr Emmanuel Mutati CEO of Mopani Copper said that the synclinorium shaft will have a production capacity of 115 million tonnes of copper ore. Mopani Copper Mines plans to invest an additional USD 1 billion in the next five years to increase production of the metal.

Mr Mutati said that the investors earmarked USD 295 million to sink a new shaft at Nkana site to prolong the lifespan of the mine. Presently, some preliminary works are underway on the project and that next year actual works will commence with the project being commissioned in the Q1 2015. The lifespan of the shaft is 25 years and preliminary works have already started.

He said that the Nkana mine site would have been closed by 2015 without the sinking of the new shaft adding that the new shaft will be, 1200 meters deep and 600 people will be employed. MCM has so far invested USD 1.2 billion in the mine since it was privatized. The lifespan for the Nkana north shaft in Kitwe will expire in the next three years.

Although operations at its north shaft mine at Nkana mine is expected to expire in three years time this development is unlikely to affect Mopani’s operations as it merely produces 500,000 tonnes of ore per annum. Meanwhile government is happy at Mopani Copper Miner appointing more Zambians in management positions with Mutati, a qualified mining engineer being the CEO.

Mr Maxwell Mwale mines minister of Zambia said that lasts year, Mopani Copper Mine stated its plans to spend USD 100 million to sink a new shaft and extend the mine life by 25 years. The planned development of the new shaft was intended by the owners to access untapped mineral resource of about 100 million tonnes of copper bearing ore beneath the existing Nkana south ore body and the central shaft ore body in Kitwe.

Mr Mwale noted that the ore bodies currently being mined were nearing their end and the existing shaft infrastructure cannot go deeper for them to access the rich ore body. It was not possible to mine the ore for another 25 years once they access the ore body beneath unless another shaft was sunk.

Mr Rayford Mbulu president of MUZ said that the mine management had informed the union work on the new shaft was planned to start last year. Apart from the new shaft, there were plans plans to start building an open pit mine in 2010 and enable the mine to have a lifespan of about 18 to 20 years.

The open pit mine would be developed in the Mindolo ore body, one of Zambia\'s oldest mining sites, which together with the Mufulira copper mine and Mufulira smelter are operated by Mopani. Mopani Copper Mines owns Mufulira Copper Mines and Nkana units which the owners Glencore AG International of Switzerland and Australian and Toronto-listed First Quantum, jointly own more than 70 percent with ZCCM IH owning the rest of the equity.

(Filed by Mr Kapembwa Sinkamba SteelGuru Correspondent Zambia)
Posted By : admin on Wed, 27 Apr 2011
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