The mining legislation enacted in 1995 and
favourable investment environment has created a high level of interest both in existing mining operations and in the exploration potential. Currently approximately 50% of the country is covered by existing Prospecting Licences and by applications for licences. Exploration in many cases is focused on areas where minor past production or prospects indicate some potential, but a significant level of activity is also being devoted to greenfields exploration in areas with little or no history of discoveries. Companies active in the mid-1990’s include Anglo American, AvMin, Billiton, Caledonia Mining, Cyprus Amax, Equinox Resources, Falconbridge, Phelps Dodge, RTZ Mining and Zamgold.
Billiton: “At Kabwe, a programme of core and RC drilling has outlined disseminated zinc-lead mineralization over 1000m strike length, with open pit potential”. (African Mining, v. 3, Jan/Feb. 1998)
Caledonia Mining Corp. and Cyprus Amax Zambia Corp. : sixteen RC holes on the Kadola licence area, 85km south of Luanshya “were drilled on significant mobile metal ion (MMI) geochemical anomalies generated by Cyprus Amax, and included assays of 0.90% Cu over 9m and 1.04% Cu over 14m”.
(Mining Journal, 30 Jan.1998)
“BHP has exercised its option on Caledonia Mining Western Ltd’s Mulonga Plains property…after a joint reconnaissance sampling programme…in 1997…for diamond indicator minerals…”.
(Mining Journal, 13 March 1998)
“Equinox Resources NL reports that drilling on the Zambezi joint venture with Anglo American intersected low-grade copper and cobalt mineralization at Kabompo…”.
(Mining Journal, 1 May 1998)
Additionally, in 1998 a resource of 100 million tonnes of ore averaging 1.9% Cu has been reported by Cyprus Amax for the Kansanshi deposit in north-western Zambia.
Although still to be completed, privatization of ZCCM has led to a flurry of interest in the mining sector and an encouraging level of physical investment. Important developments include:
- purchase of the Luanshya/Baluba mining and metallurgical complex (now known as Roan Antelope Mining Corporation Group) by the Binani Group for US$35 million, with a commitment to further capital
expenditure of US$69 million.
- sale of Chambishi Mine to the Non-Ferrous Metal Industry of China for US$20 million.
- a feasibility study of Konkola Deep by Anglo American-controlled Zambian Copper Investments, a project which will ultimately require an investment of around US$750 million.
- sale of Kansanshi to Cyprus Amax subject to the results of a phased exploration programme which would ultimately necessitate a total investment of US$48 million by Cyprus Amax prior to securing project financing.
- commitment by Avmin (formerly Anglovaal) to US$12.5 million of exploration expenditure, mostly directed to evaluation of Konkola North.
- construction of a US$30 million-plant at Bwana Mkubwa by First Quantum Minerals for re-treatment of copper oxide tailings.
- sale of Chibuluma Mine to Metorex Pty. for US$17.5 million and a commitment to US$34 million for the development of Chibuluma South.
- purchase of ZCCMÕs Power Division by the Copperbelt Consortium Ð two UK-based power companies, National Grid and Midlands Power, and a team of ZCCM managers.
Another exciting development has been the opening up of the old Dunrobin goldmine by Reunion Mining as an open pit heap leach operation which poured its first gold late in 1997. Production of 50kg of gold per month for at least three years is anticipated and the potential for proving further ore in the area is reported to be high.