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Konkola Copper Mines launches $100 million East Mill II Concentrator

Konkola Copper Mines has launched a new $100 million concentrator and plans an additional $500 million investment in the next few years to expand its asset base and raise production to its 400,000 tonnes per year target.

The inauguration of the East Mill II Concentrator, which was graced by Mines and Natural Resources Minister Wylbur Simuusa on Wednesday, marked another milestone in expansions and upgrades at KCM, a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc.

Chief Executive Officer Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the new East Mill II Concentrator for grinding and milling, located at the Nchanga Integrated Business Unit (NIBU) in Chingola, would improve plant availability and metal recoveries by about 15 percent and also help cut operational costs.

Mr Janakaraj said the new concentrator was part of expansions being implemented by the company which has already invested close to $2.5 billion since Vedanta Resources took over its assets in 2004.

Mr Janakaraj said KCM would focus on long-term investments in Zambia's mining sector to achieve the 400,000 tonnes per year copper output.

"This new facility will enable KCM to reduce waste, recycle and dispose of all waste products. KCM will always seek new methods to balance the constant need for development with a commitment to continuously protecting the environment," Mr Janakaraj said.

KCM is Zambia's largest private sector employer with more than 22,800 permanent and contractor workers.

Mr Janakaraj said a $200 million investment would be put in the Chingola Refractory Ore project and an additional $300 million in other projects, including the Upper Ore Body, which is an expansion for the existing Nchanga underground mine, to extend the lifespan of the mine. KCM is expected to process copper from stockpiles of the Chingola Refractory Ores (CRO).

Mr Simuusa described KCM as a valuable partner in the development of Zambia.

Mr Simuusa said the massive investments in projects like the Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP), currently under development, expansions to the open pits, the construction of a state-of-the-art smelter at Nchanga and concentrators at Konkola, showed KCM was a valuable long-term partner.

"There is no doubt that this project has added value to the assets of Konkola Copper Mines and also that the  investment will benefit this country in many ways such as safeguarding jobs and enhancing economic activity, which in itself has multiple benefits," Mr Simuusa said referring to the East Mill II Concentrator.

Mr Simuusa urged KCM employees to guard against vandalism and theft of company property to ensure they continued to enjoy the benefits accruing from mining activities while the government continued to receive revenue in taxes to develop the country.

Mr Simuusa, who led a delegation comprising his deputy Richard Musukwa and senior KCM officials and other senior government officials on a tour of the KDMP, the Nchanga Smelter and other facilities, expressed satisfaction at the investments.