LUSAKA – Canada's First Quantum Minerals' Bwana Mkubwa processing plant has pushed back the date it planned to stop producing copper to September from this month, a senior manager at the Zambian operation said on Friday.
First Quantum said in July it would halt production at Bwana Mkubwa in August after exhausting the copper ore oxide it imported from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, until it sourced economically viable ore.
Bwana Mkubwa technical manager Andre Scott said the plant still had some raw materials to continue production until September.
"We have slightly under 20 000 t of ore remaining, and we will probably put the last ore in the processing plant in the second week of September," Scott told Reuters by telephone from Ndola, 300 km from Lusaka.
First Quantum produced 5 000 t of copper at its Bwana Mkubwa processing plant in the first half of 2010 after it said in January that production was expected to average 800 t per month.
Scott said First Quantum had failed to find alternative sources of ore in Zambia, which is Africa's largest copper producer.
Zambia in July last year approved First Quantum's plan to open a new copper mine in the central province of the country to provide feedstock to Bwana Mkubwa, whose operations were first halted in 2008 due to lack of raw materials.