China-owned Chambishi Copper Smelter seeks to complete the construction of the project and has budgeted over US$200 million and meet the increased demand for smelting works by various mining companies in the Southern African nation and Africa’s top copper producer.
The mining company, one of the latest projects to come on stream in the country has added impetus to Zambia’s ability to refine and ensure more copper concentrates, drawn from various foreign mining companies seeking its services of the state of the art equipment, are treated and produced into finished copper cathodes for onward exports to metal consumers globally.
The company says it is committed to increase the smelter capacity and meet Zambia’s demands hence the decision to invest US$220 million in the copper smelting process by the end of 2014, its spokesperson, Daniel Mikandu said in a statement to Zambian Mining news.
Chambishi Copper Smelter has presently invested US$140 million to undertake the construction of the initial works at the company and the rest will be invested before the close of the year to ensure the smelter is brought to full capacity, the statements adds.
“ CCC has So far spent US$140 million on the completion of the smelter project and we expect to spend a total of US$220 million on completion of the project by the end of this year,”
The Copperbelt-based smelter, one of Zambian smelters complementing Mufulira and Nkana facilities has also recorded the highest production figures amongst the three smelters in Zambia and this development is inspite of the fluctuation in the grade of concentrates which were unanticipated.
Mid last year, prices of the red metal dropped its to its lowest ebb, fetching an average US$6,800/ton, raising fears among Zambian mining companies on the profitability and sustainability of their copper projects in terms of investments.
The Chamber of Mines in Zambia, a consortium of foreign mining companies operating in Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer feared the trend if not reversed might force them to review their operations-including laying off some of their staff to remain competitive.
However, the rebound to over US$7,200/ton in recent months has raised hope that the mining sector is poised to regain its reputation as the country’s lifeblood and largest foreign exchange earner for Zambia.
Milkandu says CCS has managed to treat large volumes of concentrates from various mining companies in Zambia as envisaged by the Government and that the company has also included high safety measures for its workers to maximize on its potential to remain the country’s leading smelter.
A total of 1,436 workers at the smelter recently underwent safety, health and environmental management training to ensure a safe working environment and make it a risk-free company as envisaged by the owners.
The company, to justify its concern for high safety, health and environmental protection standards acquired state of the art air monitoring equipment last year to improve monitoring of the atmosphere.
Independent environmental specialists were sought to undertake systematic monitoring of streams and rivers within the mine’s perimeter and ensure effluent does not harm the environment and human habitat.
Chambishi Copper Smelter process an average 300,000 tons of copper concentrates per annum at its current capacity and is poised to double outturn when construction of the project is completed.