MINES and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe says First Quantum Mineral’s $1.25 investment in the mining sector is an indication that investors are confident in the country’s economy.

And Kabuswe says he is yet to formally read Vedanta Resources’s letter in which the firm is promising to make various progressive changes if given back KCM.

On Sunday, FQM said its board had approved plans for a $1.25 billion expansion of the company’s Kansanshi copper mine in Zambia, first floated in January 2020, a decision the miner said was prompted by “renewed confidence” in Zambia’s investment climate.

Commenting on this in an interview, Kabuswe said it was not easy for investors to invest money in an economy if they were not confident.

“So the benefits for the mining sector is the activities in the mining sector, suppliers, contractors, that is how we will be making people benefit from the mining sector. So when there is an investment like that, it shows confidence in the economy, people are confident, it is not easy to commit such kind of money to an economy unless you are confident that you will recoup your investment at some point. So that is the importance of that. It also sends positive sentiments to other investors that Zambia you can invest money, that is the importance of that announcement,” he said.

Kabuswe said government was targeting to bring in more investors.

“That is the target and that is why we are here. We are going to put Zambia’s case at the Indaba to make sure that Zambia’s case is heard, that’s why we are here, nothing else. There is no child’s play, we have come here to make sure that you Zambians can get value for your money. So that is why we are here and we are hoping to achieve that,” Kabuswe said.

And when asked to comment on Vedanta’s letter, Kabuswe said he was yet to read it.

“You know that we are in Cape Town. That letter came when I am here. So how do I react to the letter? It has ticked on social media and I am here in Cape Town. So I have to concentrate on the Indaba, those issues we will address them when we come back. I must come back from the Indaba before I start reacting to those things, the Indaba is quite big and I am still occupied. Government needs to be positioned, so the letter just came on Friday when I was living. I haven’t even read it myself, I heard it through social media. It is on my desk, I know because it was addressed to me,” said Kabuswe.

And in a statement, ZCCM-IH board chairperson Dolika Banda said FQM’s investment would build the economy and create more jobs in the country

“ZCCM-IH welcomes the announcement by FQM to invest $1.25 billion in the Kansanshi mine S3 expansion project. We are elated with this announcement as it will lead to renewed vibrancy in the mining sector. We are pleased to partner with FQM in a manner that will build the economy and create jobs for inclusive growth in our country,” Banda said.

Banda added the investment should demonstrate to the investment world that Zambia was open for business.

“The project will extend the life of the mine until the 2040s, increasing copper and gold production by around 25%. It will also add approximately 800 permanent jobs, and a further 1,800 during the construction phase.The S3 project includes: A new larger mining fleet; an expansion to existing sulphide processing capacity: additional concentrator capacity to treat 25 Mtpa sulphide ore; an additional SAG and ball mill (equivalent to one circuit at Sentinel); construction of overland conveyor to transfer crushed ore from in-pit primary crushers; flowsheet based on existing copper sulphide ore treatment circuits. ZCCM-IH has a 20% shareholding in Kansanshi Mining Plc,” said Banda.