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9th September 2011
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Zambia is famous for its significant reserves of copper and cobalt, located in the Zambian Copperbelt province, however, the country is also a miner and producer of selenium and silver. Gold, platinum, and palladium are also produced as a by-product of copper mining.

In 2001, the first full year mining operated as a privatised industry, Zambia recorded its first year of increased productivity since 1973. Further, surging copper prices from 2004 to the present day has rapidly rekindled international interest in Zambia’s copper sector.

Mining Weekly takes a look at some of the flagship projects in the landlocked country.

 

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KONKOLA MINE  Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources, is situated in Chililabombwe, about 26 km north of Chingola, and is the most northerly of the KCM’s Zambian Copperbelt mines. The Konkola deep-mining project is aimed at expanding the production of copper ore at the Konkola mines from two-million tons a year to 7.5-million tons a year.  Three orebodies characterise the Konkola mines.  These occur within grey, slightly dolomitic siltstones, between 4 m and  15 m thick, within a warped basin, about 14 km long and 3 km wide.  The dominant features of the mine are the Chililabombwe Anticline in the south-east and the Konkola Dome in the north-west. Historically, the No 1 and No 3 shafts have been managed as two separate mines. Underground haulage connections between the two mines were developed, mainly for cross-tramming and dewatering purposes.  The separate treatment of the two mines was due to their ore reserves being physically divided by the presence of a barren gap in the orebody that has extended from the surface down to about 720 m.
 
Picture by: Reuters
KONKOLA MINE Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources, is situated in Chililabombwe, about 26 km north of Chingola, and is the most northerly of the KCM’s Zambian Copperbelt mines. The Konkola deep-mining project is aimed at expanding the production of copper ore at the Konkola mines from two-million tons a year to 7.5-million tons a year. Three orebodies characterise the Konkola mines. These occur within grey, slightly dolomitic siltstones, between 4 m and 15 m thick, within a warped basin, about 14 km long and 3 km wide. The dominant features of the mine are the Chililabombwe Anticline in the south-east and the Konkola Dome in the north-west. Historically, the No 1 and No 3 shafts have been managed as two separate mines. Underground haulage connections between the two mines were developed, mainly for cross-tramming and dewatering purposes. The separate treatment of the two mines was due to their ore reserves being physically divided by the presence of a barren gap in the orebody that has extended from the surface down to about 720 m.
 
LUMWANA PROJECT (Pic source: Reuters)Located in the North Western rovince of Zambia, 220 km west of the Copperbelt and 65 km west of the town of Solwezi, gold powerhouse Barrick Gold’s Lumwana copper concentrate project is set to be the largest of its kind in Africa.Inferred resources are to be mined over a 37 year life-of-mine, processing 20-million tons a year of ore to produce copper concentrates. Construction started in early 2006 and practical completion and handover of the project to copper miner Equinox Minerals was completed in November 2008. Barrick has since taken over Equinox Minerals in a $7.3-billion deal.
 
Picture by: Reuters
LUMWANA PROJECT (Pic source: Reuters)Located in the North Western rovince of Zambia, 220 km west of the Copperbelt and 65 km west of the town of Solwezi, gold powerhouse Barrick Gold’s Lumwana copper concentrate project is set to be the largest of its kind in Africa.Inferred resources are to be mined over a 37 year life-of-mine, processing 20-million tons a year of ore to produce copper concentrates. Construction started in early 2006 and practical completion and handover of the project to copper miner Equinox Minerals was completed in November 2008. Barrick has since taken over Equinox Minerals in a $7.3-billion deal.
 
MUNALI NICKEL PROJECT (Source: www.mining-technology.com)Australian mining company Albidon’s Munali nickel project is located about 60 km south of Lusaka, in southern Zambia. It consists of two deposits, namely Enterprise, also known as Munali Phase 1, and Voyager. Although it is billed as a nickel project, Munali also contains commercial quantities of copper, cobalt and platinum-group metals.The project is expected to have a final direct cash operating cost of about $3/lb of nickel in concentrate.Despite an initial ramp-up period through 2008, mining operations at Munali were suspended in early 2009, partly owing to low nickel prices. Production resumed on March 26, 2010 after Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan Group invested $37-million. The mine produced over 78 000 t of ore with 81% nickel content within three months of resuming production. The company plans to increase annual production to 1.2-million tons by 2012 from the current 900 000 t/y.
 
Picture by: www.mining-technology.com
MUNALI NICKEL PROJECT (Source: www.mining-technology.com)Australian mining company Albidon’s Munali nickel project is located about 60 km south of Lusaka, in southern Zambia. It consists of two deposits, namely Enterprise, also known as Munali Phase 1, and Voyager. Although it is billed as a nickel project, Munali also contains commercial quantities of copper, cobalt and platinum-group metals.The project is expected to have a final direct cash operating cost of about $3/lb of nickel in concentrate.Despite an initial ramp-up period through 2008, mining operations at Munali were suspended in early 2009, partly owing to low nickel prices. Production resumed on March 26, 2010 after Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan Group invested $37-million. The mine produced over 78 000 t of ore with 81% nickel content within three months of resuming production. The company plans to increase annual production to 1.2-million tons by 2012 from the current 900 000 t/y.
 
 
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