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Posted on: Thursday, 3 April 2008

Zambia to resume receiving new applications for mining rights

LUSAKA, April 2 (Xinhua) — Zambia is to resume receiving new applications for mining rights from next month after 10- months suspension, The Post reported Wednesday.

Mines Minister Kalombo Mwansa was quoted as saying in a statement that all the technical work required to open the new cadastre system had been completed.

To this effect, the government had re-organized, codified and digitalized cadastral data and all the required logistics had been put in place in readiness for opening to the pubic, he said.

He said the system had been tested and had satisfied the government objective to have a more transparent, efficient administration and management of mining rights licensing process.

“The processing of license applications, renewals and transfers will now be done in a timely manner, further the system is designed to avoid overlaps of mining rights areas,” he said.

He said for the members of the public to familiarize themselves with the new cadastre system before receipt and processing of new applications for mining rights resume on May 2, 2008, the ministry had introduced open days for the general public.

He said open days would run from Aril 1 to 30, 2008.

The minister said efforts would be made for the mining cadastre regulations to be aligned with the new mines and minerals development act.

Zambia announced in June last year a halt effective from July 1, 2007 of new applications for mining rights in order to computerize its licensing system.

announcing the suspension, Mwansa said the suspension is part of Zambia’s efforts to weed out irregularities and simplify licensing procedures regarding the industry with massive inflows of foreign capitals.

(c) 2008 Xinhua News Agency – CEIS. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.
 

Source: Xinhua News Agency – CEIS

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ABOUT 500 workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) have been issued with summary dismissal letters following their two-day riotous behaviour in protest against alleged poor conditions of service. And Police have apprehended seven CCS workers in relation to the riot that took place on Tuesday at the copper smelter company.Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi, and Copperbelt permanent secretary, Jennifer Musonda, confirmed the figure of the dismissed workers in separate interviews yesterday. Mr Chuanqi revealed that company property worth about US$200,000 was allegedly destroyed by the irate workers during the riot.He said management was saddened that the workers rioted before the conclusion of negotiations with union representatives.

Mr Chuanqi said the workers had been given a grace period of three days within which to exculpate themselves and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

He complained that work had been adversely affected by the workers’ riotous behaviour.

Mr Chuanqi warned that all workers identified as ring leaders would be dismissed from employment to discourage others from behaving in a similar manner.

By press time yesterday more than 19 alleged ring leaders had been identified while more than 66 workers collected their summary dismissal letters.

Mr Chuanqi appealed to workers to exculpate themselves within the stipulated time so that the innocent ones could be reinstated.

“We’re appealing to the workers to respond quickly to the summary dismissal letters so that those that did not take part in the riotous behaviour could be reinstated because work has been grossly affected and we need local manpower,” he said.

Mr Chuanqi said CCS belonged to Zambians and wondered why the workers destroyed what belonged to them simply because of a dispute that could have been resolved amicably.

“What we are building here also belongs to Zambians, so people must desist from destroying this investment. For those who will not come to collect their letters, we will follow them until they get them so that they can exculpate themselves,” he said.

However, Mr Chuanqi paid tribute to government for its continued support to Chinese investment in Zambia.

He also said the Chinese worker only identified as a Mr Li who was injured during the riot on Tuesday was discharged from the hospital.

And Mrs Musonda also confirmed that workers were served with summary dismissal letters when they reported for work yesterday.

A check by the Zambia Daily Mail crew yesterday at the CCS premises found several riot police officers manning the company.

Some Zambian workers were found waiting to collect their summary dismissal letters while others were reluctant to collect them, claiming that they did not take part in the riot.

Those spoken to said they were ignorant about the whole thing and that they were just forced by some of their colleagues to riot.

Copperbelt Police commanding officer, Antonneil Mutentwa, revealed that six officials of the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and their member were apprehended by police in connection with the riot.

Mr Mutentwa said the union officials and their member were apprehended around 17: 45 hours on Tuesday.
NUMAW national secretary Albert Mando condemned the action by the workers to riot and damage company property.

“We are not in support of what the workers did. We are also disappointed with what happened on Tuesday because the negotiations have not yet collapsed, so why strike or riot?” Mr Mando said.

Zambia Daily Mail

 —————————————————————————————————————————————–

Times of Zambia reports…

Chambishi fires 500

 ALL the 500 striking workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) were yesterday fired while seven National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) branch officials were arrested and detained on Tuesday evening.

The workers were served with letters of summary dismissal by management in the morning.

The move by management was as a result of the riotous behaviour by the workers at the company premises on Tuesday morning.

Police said those arrested were detained at Kitwe Central Police Station to help with investigations.

The workers at the Chinese-owned company had been on strike since Monday, demanding improved conditions of service.

The situation worsened on Tuesday when the workers decided to become violent and damaged property worth millions of Kwacha.

Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi and NUMAW national secretary, Albert Mando, confirmed that all the 500 workers who took part in the work stoppage had been served with letters of summary dismissal and had been given three days in which to exculpate themselves.

But Mr Mando said it was unfortunate that management had decided to serve the workers with letters of summary dismissal, saying there was no reason to continue with negotiations when its members had been served with letters of dismissal.

He, however, said his union would work hard to ensure that the seven branch union officials, who had been arrested, were released so that negotiations could continue.

“Yes, I have been told that the management at the company has also served the workers with letters of summary dismissal, but it is unfortunate management has resolved to take this stance.

“This decision by management will affect our negotiations because how do we negotiate when our members have been given letters of summary dismissal,” Mr Mando said.

And speaking in an interview at CCS, Mr Chuanqi said the management at the company had decided to serve its workers with letters of summary dismissal as a way of disciplining them for their riotous behaviour, but that they were free to exculpate themselves.

He said management was eager to listen to the concerns of the workers, but was saddened that the workers quickly resolved to become riotous and damaged property at the company.

He said the Chinese investment in Zambia was there to benefit both Zambians and Chinese and there was no reason for Zambian workers to become violent and damage property.

“As management, we do not take pleasure in dismissing our employees, but we want them to know that violence does not pay and that they have to do things according to the law. Problems arise where there are people, but things must be done correctly,” Mr Chuanqi said.

And Mr Mando confirmed the detention of the seven union branch officials and that he was trying to secure their release.

Mr Mando, who was still at the Kitwe Central Police Station by Press time, said those arrested were branch chairman, Oswell Chibale Malume, vice-branch chairman, Christopher Yumba, branch secretary, Steven Kabwe, branch vice-secretary, Christopher Nkandu, treasurer, Kafwaya Ndombwani, vice-treasurer, Chanda Mhango and a shop steward, Kachinga Silungwe.

Mr Mando said the seven were picked up on Tuesday evening and had not been formally charged although they were still being interrogated.

“Yes I can confirm that seven of NUMAW branch officials at Chambishi Copper Smelter have been arrested and detained at Kitwe central police station. They were picked up around 18:00 hours on Tuesday.

“I am actually at the police station, but I have not talked to them because they are still being interrogated and have not been formally charged. As a union, we are trying to secure their release,” Mr Mando said.

The Times team which went to CCS found the place deserted with only armed police dotted all over to keep vigil.

End of report.

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First Quantum’s inevitable takeover of Equinox will enable First Quantum to manage down its developing DRC assets.

Barry Sergeant
12 Dec 2007 16:18

JOHANNESBURG –  – 

The inevitable takeover by First Quantum (FM.TO, C$92.70 a share) of Equinox (EQN.TO, C$5.07) is seemingly only a question of time, and of how much per share will be put on the table. Last week First Quantum showed up at the party with 17% of Equinox.

It’s understood from investors familiar with the relevant history that First Quantum “investments” acquired around 10% of Equinox for an average of about $1.67 a share over the past two years; last week’s 7% block was pocketed at C$4.75 a share, giving an average around C$3.72 a share.

First Quantum is the original new generation pioneering copper miner in the mineralised belts straddling Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but has recently come under pressure from various elements regarding its DRC Lonshi mine and Frontier developing mine. Last week First Quantum announced the go-ahead for the Kolwezi tailings project in the DRC, with project financing of some US$593m. The broader background in southern Katanga Province is well known by now, with the recent DRC mining review remaining among top news items.

Equinox ranks as Africa’s largest single site copper miner, or to be, with commissioning of an annualised production of 200,000 tons of copper from mid-2008. While Equinox may be limited to a single asset, Lumwana, its Zambian location, scalability and an interesting high value potential uranium and sulphuric acid production make Lumwana/Equinox a strategic asset.

First Quantum currently produces copper at Bwana Mkubwa (Zambia) and mines at Kansanshi (Zambia), Lonshi and Frontier (DRC) and at Guelb Moghrein (Mauritania).

Project construction completion for the Kolwezi tailings project is slated for the third quarter of 2009, with commissioning scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2009. Production from Kolwezi will push First Quantum’s copper production well above 300,000 tons a year, along with important by-production of cobalt and gold.

The analytical community puts Equinox’s worth at around C$5.50 a share, based on reasonable assumptions over the forward copper curve. The valuation increases when its potential uranium business and copper scalability are factored in; the uranium business could, indeed, be spun out. Assuming that copper spot prices remain around current levels of $3/lb, from 2009 Equinox will be producing cash flow of around $1bn a year.

Given these numbers, First Quantum in summary is a 300,000 tons a year 2009 copper producer with some cobalt and gold credits, trading at roughly $21,000 Enterprise Value (EV) per ton of annual copper production. Equinox is a 200,000 tons a year 2009 copper producer with some uranium credits trading at roughly $17,000 EV per ton of 2009 production.

While Equinox carries certain execution risks over Lumwana for the meantime, the risk profile for DRC copper-cobalt assets is steadily increasing in the background. Equinox offers First Quantum a hedge against these risks, along with substantial forward cash flows. First Quantum may have paid an average to date of C$3.72 per Equinox share; a full takeover bid would need about double that, given an attractive premium to current stock prices.

Selected DRC/Zambia copper miners

Stock

From

Value

price

high*

US$bn

First Quantum

C$92.70

-18.8%

6.24

Equinox

C$5.07

-10.7%

2.84

Nikanor

£6.12

-17.4%

1.75

Katanga Mining

C$16.62

-40.8%

1.30

Metorex

R22.99

-24.4%

1.20

Anvil

C$16.08

-20.8%

1.12

Camec

£0.38

-52.6%

0.87

Teal

C$5.00

-18.0%

0.27

Mwana Africa

£0.46

-45.5%

0.23

Copper Resources

£1.43

-8.3%

0.18

African Copper

£0.59

-42.1%

0.16

Africo

C$1.82

-63.6%

0.05

African Eagle

£0.11

-32.8%

0.03

Diversified
BHP Billiton

£16.41

-13.5%

189.54

Freeport-McMoRan

$102.71

-14.6%

39.23

Vedanta

£22.30

-7.8%

13.08

* 12-month high

Source: Miningweb

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Jayanta Mallick

Kolkata, Nov. 30 Aditya Birla Group is keen on Zambian copper mining assets, particularly Luanshya and Baluba, which were once taken over by London-based NRI metal trader Mr Gokul Binani in 1997 from the State-owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd (ZCCM) but who after a few years made a messy exit, after which the operating company went into liquidation.

Speaking to Business Line here on Friday, Mr Debu Bhattacharya, Managing Director of Hindalco and the top official in base metal operations, confirmed that. “We are closely looking at the mining assets in Zambia,” he said, and added that an evaluation process was on.

The Luanshya and Baluba mines produced 48,345 tonnes of copper in concentrate and 1,216 tonnes of cobalt in concentrate during the financial year ended March 31, 1997 before privatisation. The assets are now under receivership of Grant Thornton.

Mr Bhattacharya, who is also Vice-Chairman of Novelis Inc, said that the group was looking for opportunities in South America too to pick up copper mining assets. “Not many such assets are available for acquisition worldwide currently,” he said, and indicated that a number of copper mines in Columbia, Peru and Argentina were on the group’s radar.

The group is aggressively attempting to enhance its copper resource ownership in relation to the in-house finished capacity.

“Though we have adequate long-term coverage in bauxite, our current coverage in copper is around 40 per cent, which we now target to increase it to 60 per cent,” he said, without specifying a timeframe. All the group’s applications for fresh bauxite mining rights were at an “advance stage” of processing.

Novelis legacy losses

Mr Bhattacharya said the losses on account of legacy contracts incurred by Novelis Inc before acquisition, could be wiped out fully within a year. Novelis, now part of the Aditya Birla group, had incurred losses of about $120 million associated with its legacy contracts during the first six months of 2006.

In an SEC filing, the US company in August 2006 had admitted that “depending on the fluctuations in metal prices for the remainder of 2006 and other factors, we may continue to incur losses on sale under these contracts”.

Mr Bhattacharya said after the takeover that the financial performance of Novelis, particularly related to costs, has been showing signs of improvement. The accounting year of Novelis has been changed to April-March from January-April to align it with that of the group.

No Re-$ parity risk

He said that neither Hindalco nor Novelis was affected by the sharp increase in rupee against the dollar this year because of two reasons — full cost pass-on to the buyers and absence of cross subsidisation in case of intra group transactions of metal and material.

He felt aluminium was in an upward leg of a long-term cycle and the current cycle could be better than the previous one.

Source: Hindu Business Line

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The world does not want to give Africa the credit of establishing the first university. Out of the first five universities, three were on the continent of Africa. Before we could talk about the University of Bologna, Italy (Europe’s first), the University of Paris, France or Cambridge and Oxford of the United Kingdom we had two of our own.

The University of Al-Karaouine was established in 859 AD (approx CE) at Fes in Morocco, Al-Azhar University was established in 989 AD (approx CE) at Cairo, Egypt and the famous University of Timbuktu was established in 1139 AD (approx CE) at Timbuktu in Mali. Timbuktu was actually established after Bologna which was established in 1089 AD (approx CE).

We lag behind all else despite the fact that even the first ever recorded civilizations started in Africa along the Nile River then moved into Mesopotamia, China, Greco-Roman and then the much talked about western civilizations. I guess we don’t seem to take pride in our work and we let others write history for us. The advent of new universities in Zambia needs to be encouraged. For instance our main focus for this week is Northrise University and the above video clip is a testament to Zambian ingenuity and entrepreneurship which must be encouraged by every Zambia loving citizen.

There is great demand for higher education in Zambia because every year nearly 20,000 students who graduate from high school are eligible for a university education but only 1,000 are accepted by UNZA and CBU leaving 19 in 20 without a college education unless they seek it abroad.

Compounded with the fact that 50% of the Zambian population is under the age of 15 years old, there is not only a need for future trained and skilled individuals needed to fill the 21st century job market but also a crisis mode dilemma on what to do with such untapped potential for future economic development.

Northrise University offers degree programs in Information Systems, Business Administration, Agricultural Science and Theology. These courses are offered for both evening and day schedules as can been seen for the fall 2007.

The university was established in 2004 and during its three of operations it has seen a need to reduce operational costs, encourage a Christian Centered learning environment as well as provide the much needed bridge between business as usual with an ethical structure second to none on the Zambian Enterprise scene.

Northrise Campus

In fact some of the world’s best universities were built on that platform. Cambridge in the UK was initially built around strong Judeo-Christian ethics, so was Harvard, Sanford, Texas Christian University – TCU, Yale and Princeton and we see Northrise University following the same steps as an Ivy League college in the few years to come.

classy-daddy-3.gifThe challenge remains for all of us, either to embrace the new university and encourage it to grow and blossom into one of the best in the world or to denigrate it and let others write history on our behalf.

Not so with us here at the Zambian Chronicle, we will encourage and publicize it as much as we can, we will ring bells about it and we encourage others to do the same.

We highly commend both Moffat and Doreen Zimba who are the founders as we wish them God’s speed.

The Zambian government can take the challenge by also complimenting the efforts of the founders with new educational grants, sponsor a School of Agriculture research program under the auspices of the University of Zambia and the like – the list is endless.

That’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

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By Shapi Shacinda

LUANSHYA, Zambia (Reuters) – Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) plans to lift total annual finished copper output to 96,000 tonnes in the next few years from 24,000 tonnes this year, a senior company executive told Reuters.

Derek Webbstock, the LCM chief operating officer, said feasibility studies were currently under way at a new smaller unit known as Mashiba mine, while construction works at the $354 million Mulyashi mine had peaked to commence full operations in February 2009.

Additionally, the Baluba mine, which is forecast to produce the 24,000 tonnes copper for LCM in 2007 will be expanded to a capacity of 30,000 tonnes, while the little Mashiba mine will add another 6,000 tonnes finished copper per year when it commences operations, Webbstock said.

He did not give a timeline for Mashiba mine to start production.

Webbstock said production at Baluba mine will rise to 30,000 tonnes per year from the current 24,000 tonnes.

He said Mulyashi, which is touted as the future of LCM operations will initially have an annual output of 60,000 tonnes and this together with production at the other units will lift total LCM output to 96,000 tonnes in the long term.

“The (Mulyashi project) is planned for commissioning and production of the first copper by the end of February 2009. The project is on track and the studies have been completed and physical works have commenced on site,” Webbstock told Reuters in an interview.

He said further feasibility studies were under way at Mulyashi in plans to raise annual output beyond the initial 60,000 tonnes.

LONG TERM

“Mulyashi is an investment for LCM in the long term. When commissioned, it will result in production of 60,000 tonnes of LME (London Metals Exchange) A grade copper per annum or 5,000 tonnes per month,” Webbstock said in Luasnhya, 330 km north of Lusaka.

Webbstock said Mulyashi mine, which would consist of open casting mining operations would be sustainable and give the LCM many advantages in the future should the copper prices decline.

“The cost for Mulyashi is indicated to be in excess of $354 million and that will obviously include working capital,” Webbstock said.

Webbstock said the Luanshya Concentrator had also been upgraded to process 10,000 tonnes of copper ore per day while upgrades had also been done to the Baluba mine under a $50 million investment in the last four years.

“We will spend a significant amount of money once we finalise the detailed studies to improve the capacity of Baluba especially vertical hoisting (of copper ore) from under ground,” Webbstock said.

Webbstock said LCM also planned to find ways of using redundant materials to produce more copper.

“A lot of studies have been done on the Baluba mine on how to improve efficiency of the operation and that programme is ongoing,” Webbstock added.

LCM has spent nearly $50 million since new joint shareholders, the International Mineral Resources (IRM) and Bein Stein Group Resources (BSGR), took over the mine four years ago, Webbstock said.

Webbstock said a new processing plant which will comprise heap leaching and agitated leaching methods of producing copper would be constructed.

LCM employs 2,400 people while Mulyashi will employ another 1,500 people during the construction phase and retain only 400 people when full production commences, due to modern mining technologies that would be used at the mine.

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LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Newly Africa-focused Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital has launched a stock index covering 11 markets in sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting growing interest in the region, the bank said on Wednesday.

The RC SSA 50 index is made up of 50 equities and represents 62 percent of the total market capitalisation of the domiciled sub-Saharan equity market, at $61.3 billion, Renaissance Capital, also known as RenCap, said in a statement.

The index covers equities in Botswana, the West African regional stock exchange Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Monetaires (BRVM), Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The base date of the index is Jan. 2, 2007, and the total dollar return of the index since inception is 39 percent, compared with a gain of 29 percent in the benchmark MSCI global emerging equity index, the bank said.

Investors have shown an increasing interest in Africa as they search for higher returns within emerging markets, but lack of liquidity remains a deterrent.

RenCap, a 12-year old firm with brokering, private equity and a $4.5 billion asset management business, told Reuters earlier this year it plans to double its $500 million investment into Africa by next year and aims to help African firms raise capital on global markets.

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