Lumwana Mine continues copper production despite conveyor belt ‘snap’

Production of copper at Barrick Gold Limited’s Zambian unit, Lumwana Copper Mine in Solwezi has been stepped as engineers seek to repair the facility that affected operations at the Greenfield mine last May.

“We have continued with production at the mine despite the conveyor belt having broken down although the ore is not going to the mill for processing……..our engineers are working relentlessly to ensure the facility is operational at the soonest possible time,” company’s spokesperson, Nathan Chishimba told Zambian Mining news, June 13.

Mid last May, the copper miner halted copper production after a section of the 4.2 metre long ore conveyor system that transports copper ore to the process plant collapsed, LMC general manager, Bill MacNevin said in a statement adding that, the mine which, transports its copper ore from the pits using conveyor belts to heavy duty vehicles, cannot process any copper ore until the collapsed section is built up again.

Meanwhile Lumwana mine, has signed a ‘discounted’ financing agreement with the over 100-yewar-old Standard Chartered Bank to provide the facility to its more than 5,000 employees as part of its initiative to promote creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation among its workers.

The agreement signed in Lusaka on June 13 by the two companies entails that workers at the diversified miner will be entitled to among other loan facilities secure finances up to 100 percent in personal loans to enable them purchase household goods, land for development, house improvement, holiday travel, education, purchase of motor vehicles, among others.

Lumwana Mine, with a labour force of 5,000, unionized and non-unionised employees, is an open-cut copper mine project and is situated in the North West province of Zambia, 220km west of the Copperbelt and 65km west of the town of Solwezi. It is ranked as Africa’s largest copper mine.

The mine was officially inaugurated commission in mid-2008 but delayed to December 2008 in April 2009 by Equinox Minerals. The bulk emulsion manufacturing plant was opened at the Lumwana copper mine in January 2009.

Equinox Minerals was acquired by Barrick Gold Corporation for C$7.3bn in July 2011.

The mining licence covers 1,355km² and includes two major copper deposits, Malundwe and Chimiwungo, as well as 25 exploration prospects. The licence is valid for 25 years (from January 2004) and is renewable for a further 25 years. It has a daily processing capacity of 80,000 tonnes of ore at its process plant.

Bank’s head of retail clients, Sonny Zulu, in signing the Memorandum of Understanding said the facility is to allow workers at the mine to enjoy a wide range of discounted banking services and products which will include salaries, personal loans and mortgages.

“We care particularly delighted to  our mortgages and as we celebrate the Golden Jubilee (50 years of independence) this year, we believe that many Zambians should be freed from the burden of paying rentals and they should own their own property and become landlords themselves,” Zulu said.

Company spokesperson, Chishimba, who signed on behalf of Bill MacNevin, the general manager at Lumwana mine said it is the culture of the company to have empowered, motivated and dedicated employees capable of making astute decisions in their workplace as well as their personal lives.

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