A Nearer Have a look at Copper Mining in Zambia


Mining has lengthy been a cornerstone of Zambia’s economic system, comprising 77 p.c of its annual export worth and 27.7 p.c of its annual authorities income. Sadly, this stage of reliance means the nation was hit significantly onerous by declining copper costs. The pandemic has solely additional exacerbated Zambia’s monetary woes.

Regardless of this, Zambia’s present outlook is a constructive one. Final 12 months, copper costs reached an all-time excessive; even after a quick interval of decline they’re nonetheless up 20 p.c year-to-date. Furthermore, as the electrical automobile market continues to develop over the approaching years, demand for copper is prone to enhance significantly — a lot in order that present manufacturing will probably be inadequate by 2030.

It’s also vital to notice that copper is neither the one accessible useful resource in Zambia, nor the one funding alternative. In response to Pete Main, director of mining at South African Mergence Company Options, Zambia additionally has appreciable potential in coal, emeralds, gold and manganese. Gold particularly reveals a substantial amount of promise, with its worth remaining secure even within the face of a risky market.

An summary of Zambia’s mining business

Given the outstanding function mining performs in Zambia’s economic system, it’s naturally within the authorities’s greatest curiosity to make sure that each the regulatory state of affairs and tax legal guidelines within the nation are favorable in the direction of mining corporations. To that finish, the not too long ago elected authorities introduced in October that it intends to present tax breaks to the mining sector as a part of 2022 finances discussions.

The Copperbelt area is among the extra standard areas for mining in Zambia. However the place is that this area situated? The Copperbelt is a catch-all time period for the area stretching from Northern Zambia to the Southern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In terms of present prospects in Zambia’s mining sector, there isn’t a scarcity of alternatives accessible. Though mining did decline throughout the second quarter of 2021 as a result of pressure of COVID-19, the outlook for Zambia’s mining business as a complete is shiny.

A give attention to copper-producing mines in Zambia

Mopani Copper Mines

Mopani Copper Mines is operated by Carlisa Investments, a three way partnership between Glencore (LSE:GLEN), First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) and state-owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (with Glencore not too long ago mortgaging a big portion of its stake, giving Zambia Consolidated 73 p.c possession). The corporate was initially state owned till being privatized in 2000. It operates mining websites at Mufulira and Nkana, each located in Central Zambia.

The Mufulira mine is the biggest underground mine in Africa. Using 10,000 employees, it operates its personal concentrator, refinery and smelter, producing roughly 88,000 metric tonnes of copper in 2021.

Situated a kilometer southwest of Kitwe, the Nkana facility leverages a mixture of underground and open-pit mining, and has been in operation since 1932. There are additionally a number of metallurgic services onsite, together with a smelter, acid plant and copper refinery. The Nkana mine produces each copper and cobalt, the latter of which is refined at one in all two cobalt crops: Nkana and Chambeshi.

Kansanshi mine

The eighth largest copper mine on the earth, in addition to the biggest gold producer in Zambia, the Kansanshi mine’s two open pits are located roughly 10 kilometers north of Solwezi city. It’s owned and operated by First Quantum. At the moment, there’s a smelter enlargement venture, the possession of which will probably be shared between the Kansanshi and Sentinel mines. In 2021, the Kansanshi mine produced 202,159 tonnes of copper and 128,199 ounces of gold.

Sentinel mine

One other mine owned and operated by First Quantum, the Sentinel open-pit copper mine is located 150 kilometers west of Solwezi in Northwestern Zambia. It was first constructed in 2012 for a complete funding of US$2.1 billion. The operation leverages subtle mining know-how, together with the world’s largest semi-mobile rope shovels and the world’s largest steel-ball mills.

Konkola mining complicated

Primarily based in Chingola, Konkola Copper Mines is owned and operated by an organization of the identical identify, the biggest copper mining group within the nation. A subsidiary of Vedanta Assets (NSE:VEDL), it owns and operates the refinery, acid crops and smelter in Nkana, the latter of which is the biggest main copper manufacturing plant within the nation.

Lumwana mine

Situated roughly 100 kilometers west of Solwezi within the Copperbelt, the Lumwana mine is a traditional open-pit mine owned and operated by Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX,NYSE:GOLD). Bought from Equinox Minerals in 2011 for C$7.3 billion, Lumwana leverages a sulfide flotation plant to supply copper focus.

Exploration initiatives in Zambia

BeMetals (TSXV:BMET)

The Pangeni venture covers an space on the western facet of the Copperbelt that traditionally has not seen intensive exploration due the Kalahari sand overlaying a lot of the area’s bedrock. The world found by the BeMetals is noteworthy for having solely a skinny layer of sand cowl, and in addition being near the exploration websites for a number of different main mining corporations.

Midnight Solar Mining (TSXV:MMA)

Copper and cobalt exploration firm Midnight Solar Mining controls contiguous exploration licenses straight southwest of the Kansanshi mine. Midnight Solar has recognized three important mineralized goal areas over the 506 sq. kilometer land package deal, and has partnered with mining large Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO) to additional delineate their potential.

The primary, 22 zone, is lower than 10 kilometers from the Kansanshi mine. Preliminary exploration efforts are promising, with high-grade, near-surface drill outcomes and geology indicating the 22 zone could also be atop a basement dome much like Kananshi.

The second, Mitu, reveals promising ore shale mineralizaton, much like different mineral-dense areas of the Copperbelt, with the added bonus of great cobalt in drill outcomes.

Lastly there’s Dumbwa, a web site that reveals one of many strongest and largest copper soil anomalies on file within the area, with samples over 0.7 p.c copper in soil. Preliminary drilling on the Dumbwa goal have proven extremely promising outcomes.

Arc Minerals (LSE:ARCM)

Arc Minerals at the moment holds a number of licenses in and across the domes area of the Copperbelt, close to a number of main mines equivalent to Sentinel, Kansanshi and Lumwana. The shut proximity to those operations will probably be immensely worthwhile for any mining initiatives that Arc Minerals chooses to pursue. Furthermore, this represents probably the most copper-rich areas on the earth.

The takeaway

Regardless of being a well-established copper-producing nation, a scarcity of exploration consideration in Zambia supplies savvy buyers with entry to doubtlessly vital untapped sources. With a number of notable gamers already working throughout the nation and rising world copper demand, it’s protected to say that Zambia is poised to grow to be a strategic participant in serving to the worldwide economic system meet its rising steel wants.


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