GOVERNMENT has finally acquired a majority stake in Mopani Copper Mine following a conclusion in negotiations with Glencore last week.
And Mines Minister Richard Musukwa says $300 million is required to instantly revamp mining operations, increase production and extend the lifespan of the firm.
The State’s mining investment arm, ZCCM-IH, had been in talks to buy Glencore’s 73.1 per cent majority stake in Mopani since August, last year.
Confirming the development, Mopani public relations officer Nebert Mulenga stated that government’s acquisition, through ZCCM-HI, had been completed and that it was well-placed to build on the investment undertaken by Glencore to position the mine as a leading Zambian copper producer.
“Mopani Copper Mines Plc hereby confirms that Glencore has sold its majority stake in Mopani to ZCCM-IH following the conclusion of the shareholding discussions. ZCCM-IH has been a shareholder in Mopani for over 20 years and is well placed to build on the significant investment undertaken by Glencore to help position Mopani as a Zambian copper champion,” stated Mulenga.
“The shareholding transfer process is expected to be formally completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021. Glencore will continue to be in operational and financial control, while the handover formalities are being undertaken by the involved parties. Further updates will be communicated as appropriate.”
And speaking during a press briefing, Musukwa said $300 million was required to instantly revamp mining operations.
“Government would like to have significant stakes in selected mines. And Mopani is one of them that has provided this opportunity. I wish to assure the workers of Mopani that the government will ensure that in phase two, all matters relating to their welfare are addressed before we can move to another platform, for now, the workers of Mopani have a duty to ensure that this matter, and demonstrate that they can sustain production. I know that there are many questions at this stage on who the strategic partner will be, we will trigger phase two. We are pleased to announce that we several entities that have shown interest to partner with ZCCM-IH to run and manage Mopani and these are entities from Canada, United Kingdom, China, Qatar, South Africa, Turkey just to mention a few. We have a long list, and don’t be surprised that on that list we have a consortium of Zambians who will also come on board and offer what they want to do for us,” Musukwa said.
“I must say that currently, production at the mine is going on, and what we envisage to do is to ensure that the state of the infrastructure which needs upgrade to modern infrastructure in order to sustain the current levels of production is quickly addressed. In order for us to ensure that all these operations and plants which I have spoken to…the Anderson shaft and the concentrator and all the expansion projects are completed, we need a minimum of $300 million.”
He said rehabilitation of the firm’s infrastructure would extend the lifespan of the mine by 20 to 35 years.
“The new infrastructure and the rehabilitation of the infrastructure will extend the life of the mine by 20 to 35 years. It is expected that there will be an annual ramp up on Mopani’s own source of production by about 40 percent. The increase in production will make it easier to lower the loan which we have acquired through this facility in a much more quicker way than the stated time. It is also envisaged to show that as a result of these programs, sustainability of the mines will be guaranteed. Government will benefit from taxes and other forms of income through job creation. I wish to state that government is aware of the plight of the local mine suppliers’ contractors and this transaction allows a fresh start where the Zambian providers of goods and services will be prioritised. The Chamber of commerce should therefore expect more business going forward. The subject of local content promotion can only be overemphasised,” said Musukwa.