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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: February 19th 2007


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:: Chambishi Smelter to Process Lumwana Mine Concentrates

About 55 per cent of the copper concentrates to be produced by the Equinox Minerals owned Lumwana Mine during the initial five years of production will be processed at the new US$800 million Chambishi copper smelter.

Equinox chief executive officer, Craig Williams, said in a statement yesterday that the agreement was of particular significance to Equinox, securing off-take commitments for a substantial portion of Lumwana's concentrate for the critical first five years of production.

Equinox Minerals, subsidiary Lumwana Mining Company Limited and Chambishi Copper Smelter Limited (CNMC), a joint venture between China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group and Yunnan Copper Industry (YNCIG), have signed a concentrate sale and purchase agreement. The agreement is a five-year "take and pay" contract, whose commissioning was scheduled from July 1, 2008. The annual commitment to Chambishi would be 100,000 tonnes of copper contained in concentrates, which equates to approximately 230,000 tonnes per year of Lumwana concentrates. Chambishi would charge Lumwana for copper treatment while refining charges are to be determined annually based on global benchmark terms.

The Chambishi copper smelter is a new Zambian partnership between CNMC (60 per cent), which has been operating the Chambishi Copper Mine since 1998, and YNCIG (40 per cent), currently China's third largest copper producer and smelter operator. Construction of the Chambishi copper smelter started in December 2006 and would utilise ISA smelting technology, a proven technology in the copper smelting industry and one which YNCIG uses in China. The smelter is expected to begin production in late 2008 and produce 150,000 tonnes of copper metal per year.

Mr Williams said: "This concentrate off-take agreement represents the coming together of two important new projects underpinning the growth of the copper industry in Zambia. It also cements a strong international alliance between Zambia and the sponsoring companies from China and Canada/Australia." "We look forward to forging a strong operating relationship between CNMC, YNCIG and Equinox," he added.




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