Mopani Copper Mine Chief Financial officer John Chiwele says the mine has embarked on an extension plan which will see its operations extended by an additional 25 years.

In an interview with News Diggers! in Lusaka, Chiwele said the expansion plan involved sinking and equipping three new shafts.

“As a company, we are in the midst of a mining expansion program which involves sinking and equipping three new shafts as well as putting up a new concentrator. One of the three shafts has since been completed and has been commissioned by President Edgar Lungu. The Mufulira deep shaft is scheduled for completion before the end of this year. And the Ndola deep shaft will be commissioned in 2019. With these investments, the company is investing in the future of Zambian mining and the shafts will extend the life of Mopani by at least another 25 years. The extension of the mines will safeguard the jobs of our people and will also increase production. The expansion projects we have embarked on are part of our long-term plan to turn Mopani into a world class mining operation by 2023. This will entail, among other things, improving productivity and contributing significantly to the development of the surrounding towns on the Copperbelt, as well as the Zambian economy,” Chiwele said.

“The mining sector is growing rapidly and with this growth comes a huge demand for skills development which is one of our main requirements for our successful mining operations. To this end, Mopani decided to invest in the state of the art training center in order to support efforts to train co-skills in mining and engineering. The training center focusses on having a rich pool of mining artisan and operator skills for the industry. The school is also serving as a center of excellence for upscaling Mopani’s director and contactor labour. In addition, we have a established a sustainable development academy to integrate contractor employee into our academy. As a company, we have been able to collaborate with other stakeholders to carry out some of our corporate social responsibility and help infrastructure development and water and sanitation as well as sports development. Our commitment to community development will remain unshaken. Mopani is also committed to growing local businesses,” said Chiwele.

“In this regard, we have come up with a number of policies to encourage local procurement and build the capacity of our local partners and clients. We are pleased that our investment has paid off. We have seen a tremendous improvement in safety resulting in the incidences of lost time injuries. Our target is to eliminate incidences of serious injuries at all Mopani operations. Mopani will continue to work closely with stakeholders in promoting environmentally sustainable economic grow for our country.”