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    Zambia: Mining Sector Back On Track

    The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
    29 June 2007
    Posted to the web 29 June 2007

    THE Zambia's mining sector is back on track.
    The performance of the sector has improved tremendously in the past few years. Copper production levels have increased from a low of 256,884 tonnes in 2000 to 515,010 tonnes in 2006 while the average copper price rose from US$0.82 per pound in 2000 to US$3.15 per pound in 2006.

    Employment levels in the mining sector which had declined to 35,966 in 2000 increased to 50,000 in 2006.
    The GDP growth of the mining sector increased to 11.8 per cent from 6.2 per cent in 2000.
    Copper output is projected to reach 600,000 tonnes by the end of this year (2007) and 1,000,000 tonnes per year in the next one or two years.
    "These statistics show that the mining sector has regained its strength and it is the wish of everyone to see this translated into improved well-being of Zambians." says Mines minister, Kalombo Mwansa.
    Dr Mwansa says Zambia is endowed with various mineral resources which include copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, nickel, platinum group elements, manganese, tin, tantalum and iron.
    Among the industrial minerals, Zambia has limestone, phosphate, feldspars, silica and dimension stones such as marble, granite and sodalite.
    Energy minerals found in the country include uranium, oil and gas.
    This is in addition to the abundance of precious stones and mineral deposits among them amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, tourmaline, gold, silver, diamonds and garnet.
    The minister notes that Zambia has vast potential for further mineral exploration, as about 45 per cent of Zambia is yet to be geologically surveyed and covered by geological maps.
    The maps enable private companies to engage in comprehensive and detailed prospecting work with a view to developing new mines.
    Opportunities also abound for oil and gas exploration and development in Zambia, given that recently, the method of Microbial Prospecting for Oil and Gas (MPOG) has produced very promising results in North-Western Province.
    Further exploration by the Geological Survey Department using the MPOG method is expected to take place this year.
    The exploration activities will cover Western Province, North Luangwa or Chama areas in Eastern Province where Placid Oil did extensive preliminary explorations in the 1980s.
    "Areas which will show positive results will be demarcated into additional blocks and announced to invite tenders for companies to undertake investigations leading to feasibility studies and mine development," says Dr Mwansa.
    With regard to investment and business opportunities in copper, African Eagle Resources, a company that has been carrying out copper explorations in Mkushi, has discovered more high grade copper in the area, some four kilometres south of the main copper zone discovered earlier.
    According to the 1990 study of the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), the area in Mkushi at Munda, could contain up to eight million tonnes of copper ore at an average grade of 1.2 per cent.
    Some 96,000 tonnes of copper could be extracted from the area.
    The African Eagle Resources believes their prospecting work in the area could raise this figure to 500,000 tonnes.
    On the Copperbelt, the Government recently granted Teal Exploration and Mining a large scale mining licence to start mining operations at Mwambashi near Chingola.
    The company is also undertaking explorations at Konkola North.
    Both Mwambashi and Konkola North would soon develop into new mines.
    In Lusaka Province, says Dr Mwansa, Zambezi Resources is preparing to open a new mine in Chongwe.
    A major highlight is the discovery of copper and gold deposits at Cheowa in the district whose extraction will soon be underway.
    Relevant Links

    Southern Africa Economy, Business and Finance Mining Zambia

    The possibility of developing new uranium and coal mines in Zambia is another exciting investment opportunity, says Dr Mwansa.
    Omega Corporation Minerals has discovered significant deposits of uranium in Southern Province near Lake Kariba.
    So far the resource estimate is 13.7 million pounds of uranium and the company is getting ready to apply for a large scale mining licence.

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