Kabwe Mine to re-open with US$300 million investment

Berkeley Mineral Resources
BERKELEY Mineral Resources

BERKELEY Mineral Resources (BMR), through its Zambian subsidiary Enviro Processing Limited (EPL), is geared to reopen Kabwe Mine and is expected to initially invest US$300 million (about K1.5 billion) in its operations.
BMR, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market, says it will create over 1,000 jobs in Kabwe over a period of 10 years effective 2014 when it is expected to commence operations.
BMR chairman Masoud Alikhani says since 2008 EPL has been acquiring surface rights in Kabwe and licences over zinc and lead tailing dumps.
Mr Alikhani said in Kabwe recently when his company donated two ambulances to Kabwe General Hospital that between 2011 and 2012, EPL completed the acquisition of all the relevant assets, surface rights, mining plot and licences.
Mr Alikhani said: “I believe that the reopening of Kabwe Mine will bring great news to the people of Kabwe as it will lead to the cleaning of the environment, creating jobs and regeneration of Kabwe town.”
Mr Alikhani said this in a speech delivered on his behalf by BMR general manager for Africa Dennis Human.
Mr Alikhani said since 2011, BMR’s assets have been vested in EPL, which is a 100 percent Zambian-owned subsidiary and it owns the unmined areas and partially mined underground resources at Kabwe Mine.
Once production starts, Mr Alikhani reckons that EPL will employ (mostly) former Zambia Consolidated Copper Mine (ZCCM) workers who will be central to operations of the company.
“The re-opening of Kabwe Mine will support much-needed employment in the once vibrant and popular mining town,” Mr Alikhani said. “Currently, EPL is waiting for environmental approval from Zambia Environmental Agency to start mining activities.”
He further said his company will assist the people of Kabwe in various social responsibility programmes.
He also said EPL is looking forward to investing in Zambia for many years.
And in an interview, Mr Human said EPL will initially invest about US$300 million to kick-start operations and financial investment will extend from 2014 onwards.
“So this investment is big. We have done a quality intensive verification process of samples in South Africa and we found that there was still a large percentage of base minerals in those (tailing) dumps,” Mr Human said.
Apart from the workers that have already been employed about, 100 more workers will be employed, and in the next 10 to 15 years close to 2,000 people would have been employed, Mr Human said.
Mr Human said EPL would target the European and Chinese markets where lead and zinc are on demand, especially by companies that manufacture vehicles.
He also said there are other minerals such as indium, silver and gallium inside these tailing dumps.
The MMD government in 1994 closed Kabwe Mine on grounds that its operations had become uneconomic, a development that plunged Kabwe into an economic depression and the town assumed the name of a ‘ghost town’.