The Lumwana copper mine, situated approximately 100 kilometers west of Solwezi in Zambia’s Copperbelt, is set for a significant expansion, marking a pivotal moment for the region’s copper industry.
Lumwana, a conventional open-pit operation using the truck and shovel method, processes predominantly sulfide ore through a conventional sulfide flotation plant, resulting in the production of copper concentrate.
Barrick Lumwana Mine is embarking on a massive expansion program, announcing plans to construct a new mining pit in the Kamisenga area. The ambitious $2 billion investment aims to elevate copper production from the current 27 metric tonnes to an impressive 50 metric tonnes annually. Herbert Cawood, the General Manager of Barrick Lumwana Mine, highlighted the potential of the expansion to create approximately 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and an additional 600 direct jobs upon project completion.
The Lumwana copper mine’s Super Pit expansion project, disclosed during a meeting between Barrick President and CEO Mark Bristow and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, is now scheduled to commence production in 2028. This transformative project positions Lumwana as one of the world’s major copper mines, anticipating an annual production of around 240,000 tonnes for over 30 years. The estimated cost of the project is nearly $2 billion, with construction slated to begin later this year.
Since Barrick’s strategic refocus in 2019, Lumwana has undergone restructuring and re-engineering, emerging as a significant contributor to Barrick’s expanding copper portfolio. The mine has injected almost $3 billion into the Zambian economy through royalties, taxes, salaries, and local procurement.
Local procurement has been a cornerstone of Lumwana’s contribution, with over $472 million in 2023, representing more than 81% of the total spend for the mine. Barrick has also initiated a Business Accelerator Program, aiming to enhance the business capacity of Zambian contractors in its supply chain.
Mark Bristow emphasized Barrick’s commitment to community upliftment through the REDD+ initiative, focusing on conserving the natural forest surrounding the mine. Discussions with the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment are underway to facilitate licensing, underscoring Barrick’s dedication to sustainable practices in partnership with local government.