Canada’s First Quantum to expand operations at Zambia mine

ZAMBIA – Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd has announced its plan to expand operations at the Kansanshi mine in Zambia, Africa’s biggest copper mine.

In a technical report, the company said it plans to expand the sulphide ore processing facility at the Kansanshi mine by 25 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) which will boost annual production throughout to 52 mtpa.

First Quantum expects to spend nearly $650 million for the expansion in about two years, starting in the second half of 2023.

“This expansion plan will continue to be further refined before project approval is sought”, the company added.

Global news agency, Reuters had reported earlier in January that the Canadian miner was weighing an investment of around $1 billion to lift output at the Kansanshi copper mine.

A report done by International Council on Metals and Mining (ICMM) published in 2012 showed that, in that year, 86% of the foreign direct investment that came into Zambia was due to the mining industry, 80% of the country’s export earnings came from the mining industry, as well as over 25% of all revenues collected by government.

The mining industry contributed more than 10% to the GDP, and more than 1.7% of all formal employment in the country.

These parameters show that Zambia’s reliance on the mining industry was and is still way above that of other countries that are similar to Zambia in terms of their dependence on the extractive industries.

The geology of Zambia shows great potential for further investment in mining.

 The past few years have seen significant instability in the fiscal regime and this has undermined new investment into the sector.

Data from Zambia Chamber of Mines indicates that the country produced 857,847 MT of copper in 2018 but dropped by approximately 100,000 MT in 2019 due to high taxes.

Zambia is Africa’s second-largest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo which produced 1.5 metric tons of copper in 2019.

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