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Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) plans to spend US$1.5 billion on a new Zambian copper project that would extend the life of its operations in the Nkana and Mufulira mines by more than 30 years
According to MCM chief executive officer Danny Callow, the Glencore International Plc majority-owned firm was in the final stages of a feasibility study into the outlined $1.5 billion copper development.
If proven viable, the investment will fund two new ultra-deep shafts and modern copper processing plants, which will double MCM’s underground copper production to 150,000 tonnes per year and, along with the $2 billion already injected to upgrade operations, will enable the firm to produce copper at a lower cost.
Callow said, “Technically, we have completed the feasibility study and are now looking at the financial implications.
“Preliminary indications from the study have shown that mine life at both the Nkana and Mufulira operations would be extended beyond 30 years with this new investment.”
A detailed feasibility study on the projects is expected to be presented to the Mopani board of directors for approval by August.
Meanwhile, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has plans of their own to extend the life of operations in its Zambian Nchanga mine by more than 25 years.
KCM’s activity in the Nchanga mine would have ended in 2013, if the company had not decided to invest in modern mining methods, accessing copper from an upper ore body.
The development is expected to add 35,000 tonnes of copper per annum to company’s output.
KCM chief executive officer Jayekumar Janakaraj explained, “Around $70 million has been spent for the next couple of years. 25 years is just a minimum life extension for the Nchanga mine beyond 2014. As we continue drilling from the underground level, it will continue to increase life.”
With a total output of 200,000 tonnes for last year, KCM plans to raise copper production levels to 400,000 tonnes per annum over the next five years.
The firm’s flagship $1 billion Konkola Deep Mining Project, to be completed by December, is expected to contribute significantly to the production aims.