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Canadian mining companies are playing an active role in the return of annual Zambian copper production
According to a statement issued by the Canada EU Mining Council, the close working partnership between Canadian mining companies and the Zambian government has been a critical factor in successfully retrieving 683,000 tonnes of copper in 2011. This figure translates to just under 700,000 tpa produced during the country’s peak period.
This was established through a study by Wood Mackenzie which was commissioned by the council.
“Of the total production last year, 372,000 tonnes came directly from mines operated in Zambia by Canadian companies,” the report said.
First Quantum Minerals (FQM) plans to invest more than US$4bn over the next two to three years in the construction of its new Sentinel mine. The Sentinel mine is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of copper per year by 2015, while upgrades at FQM's Kansanshi operation are predicted to help increase its production to 400,000 tonnes. A new smelter is also to be built which will aim to produce 1.2mn tonnes of copper concentrate locally.
“Apart from adding an additional 450,000 tonnes of new copper mining capacity and an additional 300,000 tonnes of copper smelting capacity, these investments are expected to create more than 2,000 new jobs as well as making a significant contribution to government revenues.
“FQM’s copper production alone in Zambia will increase to approximately 700,000 tonnes by 2015,’’ the statement said.
The Canadian-Zambian partnership was highlighted in an independent report issued in March 2012 for the Zambia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (ZEITI).
Based on 2009 figures, the Kansanshi mine produced 94 per cent of all the corporate income tax payable by the entire extractive industry that year.
Most significantly, this project contributed 25 per cent of the total government revenue collected from all extractive projects and sources for this period and represented approximately US$128mn from the production of 244,979 tonnes of copper.
Working with local partners, Canadian mining companies have invested more than US$29mn to help address the pressing social and economic issues facing Zambia including health, education, food security, unemployment and filling the infrastructure gap.
“The emphasis is on improving the well-being of local communities near where they operate. But the impact goes well beyond the towns surrounding the mine site. This way of operating sets an example for others in the industry to follow.’’