The Government has threatened to repossess the Nkana copper slug heap in Kitwe from Chambishi Metals, a subsidiary of China Non-Ferrous Metal Industry Foreign Engineering and Construction Company Limited, following delays by the miner to develop the structure, Zambia’s Mines, energy and water development deputy Richard Musukwa says.
The Government had given Chambishi Metals ample time to develop the facility but to date, the slug heap is only used for illegal copper mining activities, local media reported citing Musukwa.
The manner in which Chambishi metals are running the dump site is interfering with environmental regulations and promoting illegal mining, the minister adds.
The slug heap has no meaningful resource and in its current form, is only causing harm to the surrounding community which is involved in illegal mining activities.
The slug heap had no meaningful copper resource left to go beyond a period of five years and Government may consider repossessing it for the surrounding community to operate.
“Chambishi Metals has neglected to develop the Nkana slug heap and Government will repossess it for the community to manage within the few years of its remaining lifespan,” Musukwa stated.
According to the Government, the slug heap could be developed using simple technology and the Government would do it through the Mines Safety Department.
Though the state policy was to run the mines on a private sector-led model, Government was interested to see to it that mining companies develop projects like the Nkana copper slug.
Musukwa noted when a facility such as the Nkana slug heap is wasted, it became a liability that deprived Zambia of employment and wealth.
The Chambeshi Metals Plc is located 35 kilometres, Northwest of Kitwe on the Copperbelt hub of Zambia. In 1998, Anglovaal Mining Limited had acquired 90 percent stake in the unit.
Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM IH) holds the remainder of the shares in the unit. Earlier, Enya Holding BV (ENRC Group) owned 90 percent in the unit.
Chambishi is a mining, tolling and refining company with extensive copper and cobalt reserves.
The mine has undertaken several improvement and expansion projects that will streamline its operations and increase both the cobalt and copper production.