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By ZamChro Correspondent

Lumwana Copper Mine in Solwezi, in Northwestern Province of Zambia, which is the largest open pit copper mine in Africa, went into operation on Friday.

 

Zambian President Rupiah Banda, when commissioning the copper mine, called for more investments in the local metal processing industry to make copper exports more profitable.

 

Banda said metal processing would add value to the minerals out of Zambia for export.

 

He said the government is ready to cooperate with partners including Equinox Minerals, which has long exhibited desire to invest in the country’s mining sector.

 

“What government expects is for investors in the mining sector to consider investing in metal processing facilities that add value to your metal,” the president was quoted as saying by Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS).

 

The government strongly believes that time is ripe for investors like you to consider processing the copper you mine and add more value by selling finished products made in Zambia to the same international market,” Banda said

 

He said the government was proud with the perseverance exhibited by Equinox Minerals in fully developing the Lumwana mine project, which started 12 years ago.

 

Banda has since assured the investor that government would partner with the company to further develop the project for the economic benefit of the local people, according to ZANIS.

 

The president said the government will ensure that it only allows serious investors to set up businesses in the mining sector and not those who only declare interest when the sector is performing well.

 

He said the government was indebted to Equinox Minerals for sacrificing to pump in one billion U.S. dollars in the mining development project regardless of the set-backs that the copper mining industry was suffering in the recent past.

 

“We are proud and feel indebted that during the twelve years of the project development, you sacrificed to pump in one billion US dollars which includes the development of modern Lumwana town. This shows the trust you have in our mining industry regardless of the ups and downs,” he said.

 

The government will consider Lumwana mine project, which is Africa’s biggest open pit copper mine, as Zambia’s ambassador in efforts to promote investment, according to the president.

 

The Lumwana Mine is expected to produce 140,000 tons of copper concentrates every year.

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