Konkola Copper Mines has assured that has no intentions of closing its Nchanga mine despite a sharp fall in copper prices on the international market.
KCM Chief Executive Officer Steven Din said the mining firm, majority owned by Vedanta Resources Plc is fully committed to the Zambian market.
Mr Din was speaking in Lusaka this morning during a news briefing.
‘Vedanta has invested US$3 billion in Konkola, is in fact Zambia’s single largest private investment and one of the largest employers in this country. Some people think KCM is closing, I can assure you that we are not, we have 16,000 people there, we produce 200,000 tonnes of copper, we move 20 million tonnes of material every year and it is a very vibrant mine to work,’ Mr Din said.
‘KCM has a rich and long history, some of you might be aware that production started in 1934 at Nchanga and in November 2004, Vedanta became majority shareholders with 51 shares but 2008, it increased its stake up to 79.4 and the balance is owned by ZCCM-IH, we have on our Board of Directors, representatives of ZCCM-IH,’ Mr Din said.
He said the investments by KCM into Nchanga Mines have extended its mine life from 10 to 30 years.
‘When Anglo American and ZCCM were running the mines, they were producing copper from ore grades of 5-6 percent but we are currently running at much lower grades but in those days, it didn’t make sense to be processing 1 or 2 percent copper because it was a lot more profitable to produce copper out of 5 or 6 percent, so there was a lot of copper in stockpiled material or refractory material and all those stock piled are in production and that is about 15 years of production, so Nchanga is not closing,’ Mr Din said.
Meanwhile, Mr Din has revealed that KCM is saving between 5 and 10 percent of its power after implementing a rigorous energy saving plan following the decision by Copperbelt Energy Corporation to cut power supplies by 30 percent.
‘Even before CEC announced a 30 percent cut in power supplies, we had started implementing our own usage rationing plan around July and we are now saving between 5 and 10 percent of power,’ he said.
And asked about the pending job losses at KCM, Mr Din refused to comment on the matter saying it would be unfair to do so as negotiations with Government and the mine unions over the issue are in progress.