Construction works of the largest copper mine in Africa by Equinox at Lumwana have reached an advanced stage.
Northwestern Province Permanent Secretary, Jeston Mulando, who toured the mine yesterday, commended Lumwana Mine management for the infrastructure which were being put up at the mine site.
Mr Mulando said the economic out look at Lumwana was looking positive with such infrastructure.
Mr. Mulando expressed happiness that Lumwana mine had recruited the local people who included women, and trained them as drivers of the largest trucks in the world known as EUCLID.
Some of the major works being undertaken include the 5 km long converyor belt from the primary crusher to the process plant, a chemical storage shed, twin tower laboratory and a largest mill in the world.
The Permanent Secretary urged mining companies not to be scared of the recent announcement by President Levy Mwanawasa on plans to increase mineral royalties and company tax.
Mr. Mulando said mines would still make enough profit with the 47 per cent tax, adding that mining companies should partner with bio-producers to cut down on the high price of fuel.
He advised Lumwana mine to procure materials from the local people to empower them for their livelihood, adding that most of them were not in employment and not everyone would be employed in the mine.
And Lumwana Managing Director, Harry Micheal, said 320 housing units have been completed for junior workers and have targeted to construct 1,000 more houses.
Mr. Micheal said that management wanted to complete construction works on time so that by the end of June this year full production of copper commences.
He said the increase in tax was a blow to his company since they were still in construction phase.
He lamented that soon after the President’s announcement on the increase in tax by mines, Equinox had lost three million US dollars.
The Managing Director however, said he would travel to Lusaka to seek clarification from Government on the details of how they would effect the new tax regime on mines.