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State mining company Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings is set to reopen operations of the closed Luanshya Copper Mines, Zambian President Rupiah Banda said late Sunday.


Banda said in remarks broadcast live on national television the government was in talks with management of Luanshya Copper Mines to ensure its ownership can be transferred to ZCCM-IH to enable it resume operations.


All the miners laid off by the company will be reinstated once operations resume. However, the president didn’t say when the take over would be completed. Management of Luanshya Copper Mines, Zambia’s leading cobalt producer closed operations in December citing low global metal prices.


ZCCM-IH replaced the former state mining parastatal, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, which was wound up in the late 1990s during the mass privatization of copper mines. The company holds minority stakes in copper mines in the Copper Belt and Northwestern provinces.


However, an official with Luanshya told Dow Jones Newswires separately that the company plans to resume operations when the global metal prices stabilize.


“We shall resume operations when the global prices stabilize, possibly in the second half of this year,” the official said by telephone from the Copper Belt. He added that talks are underway with the Zambian government over the fate of the company’s future investments in the country.


Luanshya copper mines owns Baluba Copper Mines, Chambishi smelter as well as the Mulyanshi copper project. Luanshya is a joint venture of International Mineral Resources and Bein Stein Group Resources.

-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; +256 75 262 4615;


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