Mine dewatering to cost $100m

CHINA Non-Ferrous Metal Company (CNMC) will spend about US$100 million to dewater shaft 28 at the Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM).

Shaft 28, which got flooded in February 2008, holds an estimated 70 million cubic litres of water and will take about three years to drain.

Chief executive officer Luo Xingeng says the water from the shaft will be pumped to Makoma Dam on the outskirts of Roan township for domestic use by Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company.

Mr Luo said some of the water will be channelled into Fisansa River.

He said the dewatering exercise is a huge investment that will result in copper ore extraction, adding that LCM was confident of sustained operations because of Zambia’s political stability and good business policies.

Mr Luo is happy that Zambia has stable politics, which investors need for sustained investments.

“At the moment, a stable policy is very important. That is what we need because we do know what will happen tomorrow,” Mr Luo said.

He said production at Muliashi mines has continued and is on course and 30,000 tonnes of copper have so far been produced.

Despite Muliashi’s impressive performance, Mr Luo bemoaned the low copper content at the mine.

LCM’s Muliashi mine, which has an annual production capacity of 40,000 metric tonnes and a work force of 1,000, has the world’s largest heap leaching plant.

He also said the proposed increase in electricity tariffs by power supplier Zesco will adversely affect mining.

And Mr Luo has assured that the company will not lay off any worker. The firm has continued to pay allowances to the employees who are currently on forced leave.

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