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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: March 8th 2007

 
 

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:: Shut Zambia mine to Start Copper Processing

A South African company plans to produce up to 12 000 t of copper per year at a closed Zambia zinc mine after buying the abandoned unit, a senior industry official said on Monday. Silver Lining Ventures Ltd., a subsidiary of South Africa's Alberg Mining and Mineral Exploration, also plans to revive zinc mining and processing at the former state-owned Kabwe mine, which closed in 1994 and was purchased last year.

Godfrey Nabulyato, human resource manager for Silver Lining Ventures, told Reuters that a smelting plant had been completed at the site and copper processing would start soon.

He said Silver Lining Ventures would start acquiring copper ore from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the mines in north-western and Copper belt provinces of Zambia to process at its new Kabwe smelter, 140 km (87 miles) north of the capital Lusaka. "The processing plant has been completed and we will start refining copper here as soon as other logistics have been completed and contracts have been signed with the copper mines," Nabulyato said. He said negotiations with the copper mines were almost completed.

In the initial stages 3 600 t of blister copper will be produced per year with planned peak production of 12 000 t, Nabulyato said. He did not elaborate. "We will be processing some of the raw material (copper ore) from the mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and also from our local mines," Nabulyato said.

Nabulyato said Silver Lining Ventures would be processing blister copper at 96% grade. The firm also plans to open a copper mine in Mumbwa in central Zambia, where Nabulyato said copper exploration had so far produced good results.

Nabulyato said Silver Lining Ventures planned to restart the mining and processing of zinc, which was abandoned in 1994 when the Kabwe mine - one of the oldest in Zambia - was abruptly shut due to poor management and lack of capitalisation.

"We are rehabilitating some of the equipment which was abandoned and all we have to do is to clean it up because the steel structures in the plant are very strong and can be used for many more years," he added. Nabulyato gave no timeline on when the zinc and lead operations would start but said Silver Lining Ventures planned to open three mining shafts at its zinc mine. "We will also be processing lead on a small scale," he added.

 

 

   

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