Zambia lifts suspension of $832m Chinese mine licence

Nonferrous Mining Corporation
Nonferrous Mining Corporation

Zambia has lifted the suspension of a licence issued to a unit of China’s Nonferrous Mining Corporation to build an $832m copper mine, the environmental agency said on Wednesday.

The licence was suspended after the unit, NFC Africa, failed to comply with some conditions.

The agency, which must approve all large infrastructure projects, gave NFC Africa the go-ahead in 2012 for the South East Ore Body project about 400km northwest of Lusaka, which would add 60,000 tonnes to Zambia’s copper output.

But the company did not fulfil a requirement to prepare a comprehensive resettlement plan for people affected by the project, prompting the environmental agency to suspend the licence in December last year.

“The order has been lifted. NFC Africa has been given three months to address the areas of concern,” said Ireen Chipili, a spokeswoman for the environmental agency.

NFC Africa plans to build a copper processing plant and sink four shafts for production, services and ventilation, according to a document submitted to the environmental agency.

The South East Ore Body has copper ore reserves estimated at more than 76-million tonnes, with an average grade of 2.18%, the document said.