New Kansanshi Smelter produces first copper

FIRST Quantum Mineral’s US$800 million landmark Kansanshi Smelter in Solwezi has started operating and produced its first copper this week.
First Quantum government affairs manager John Gladston said the Canadian miner’s smelter project in North-Western Province, which represents an US$800 million investment, is expected to employ 700 locals.
Mr Gladston said over 2,300 Zambians were involved in its construction stage.
He, however, said in a statement yesterday that First Quantum indefinitely postponed a decision to double the size of the smelter, citing continued fiscal uncertainty in Zambia.
He said, “The 2015 budget sees the introduction of a mineral royalty-only tax regime removing any capital expenditure incentive and reinforcing First Quantum’s postponement decision; a decision that leaves the country with a continued deficit in copper smelting capacity.”
The Kansanshi Smelter is a modern facility that will produce between 300,000 and 350,000 tonnes of copper annually.
Mr Gladston said the smelter will meet the most stringent environmental standards of any smelter globally.
“The Zambian mining sector is undergoing pressure brought about by the low global copper price and the imminent imposition of a new Zambian mining tax system,” Mr Gladston said. – MARTIN MUSUNKA/SUMA SYSTEMS

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