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The Chamber of Zambian Mines has urged the government to maintain a stable investment environment to sustain copper production following the death of the country’s President Mwanawasa.

LUSAKA (Reuters)  –  The Zambian government must KEEP a stable investment environment in order to sustain copper production after the recent death of President Levy Mwanawasa, the head of the Chamber of Zambian Mines (CZM) said on Monday.

Mwanawasa died in a French military hospital last month.

CZM President Nathan Chishimba said in remarks broadcast on state radio that it was important to sustain Mwanawasa’s policies to encourage more investment.

Chishimba said Mwanawasa had personally helped to revamp mining operations in Zambia, which expects to produce 600,000 tonnes of copper in 2008, up from 550,000 tonnes last year.

“The last thing we need is adverse policies that will undermine gains that we have made,” Chishimba said.

“We call upon all leaders to have cool heads,” he added.

Analysts say foreign mining firms in Zambia are anxious about government policy on mining after Mwanawasa’s death.

Foreign firms have invested over $2.5 billion since 2000 when the mineral-rich country privatised its copper and cobalt mines, the country’s economic lifeblood.

Foreign mining firms operating in Zambia include London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Canada‘s First Quantum Minerals, Swiss firm Glencore International AG and Australia‘s Equinox Minerals Ltd.. (Reporting by Shapi Shacinda, Editing by Toby Chopra +260-977843609/260-95577 9523)

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