MINES, Energy and Water Development Minister Yamfwa Mukanga expressed concern at the delayed issuance of the mining rights license to China Copper Mines (CCM) of Chingola.
Mr Mukanga said in an interview after his fact-finding mission at CCM and two other mining outfits that he was impressed with the investment of the Chinese business group in the mining industry.
He pledged Government support for dedicated mining companies and would work closely with them to create employment opportunities for Zambians.
CCM Manager Yinghua Xiao said the firm has invested $50 million in developing its plant which has the capacity to produce 5000 tonnes of finished copper per annum.
CCM, which is co-owned by Yu Wangping and Zhang Meng Tao, would employ more than 500 people in its first stage of production line which was slated to commence immediately after the issuance of the mining permit.
Mr Xiao said during the second phase more than $50 m would be invested to further develop the mine.
He complained that two local companies had illegally occupied two dump sites belonging to CCM and this was frustrating business activities of the company.
The project to set up CCM, which is the first Chinese owned mining firm in Chingola, started in 2010 and the second stage to further develop it would generate over 1200 jobs for locals.
Mr Xiao expressed concern that all necessary mechanism were in place to start production despite the delay to issue the Mining Rights Licence.
“Currently, we have employed ten Chinese technicians and 50 locals during the first construction phase of the mine. We are ready to start production as everything has been set.
“We are ready to start production once the Mining Rights issue is resolved and this will translate into more job creation,” he said.
Mr Xiao said CCM had started an upscaling and skills transfer programme aimed at ensuring the locals acquire technical skills to manage copper processing at the firm.