By JAMES KUNDA –
BRITISH owned Consolidated Mining and Investments Limited (CMIL) and Jinchuan Group of China, have signed a long-term joint venture agreement to immediately revive operations at Munali nickel mine in Mazabuka which stalled two years ago.
Operations at Zambia’s sole nickel mine situated in Southern Province, were paralysed in 2011 due to plummeting base-metal prices on the global market.
The global economic situation led Munali nickel mine which was then co-owned by Jinchuan and Albidon Limited of Australia, into financial crisis forcing its closure.
Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma who announced the deal yeaterday, said the Zambian nickel industry was headed for revival as the two firms have pledged substantial investments to revamp mining operations.
“CMIL and Jinchuan have entered into a joint venture to revive Munali Nickel Mine which suspended operations due to financial constraints.
This new equity partner, is an accredited developer of several mines globally and Government is confident that the agreement with Jinchuan will yield the desired benefits for the people of Zambia,” Mr Yaluma said.
In a related development, Mr Yaluma has disclosed that several investors from China and Canada have expressed interest in developing iron deposits across selected parts of the country.
He said Government was already considering such potential investments with the aim of growing Zambia’s base metal industry.
“This country needs to diversify from copper mining which is a diminishing asset and as Government; we have revised the Mineral and Mining Development Policy of 1995 and the Mines Act of 2008 to achieve this target,” he said.
Mr Yaluma said in Ndola that, these two documents have been revised to monitor and regulate operations of the mining industry, so that Zambians benefit from this sector beyond just full-time employment.
He said it was the wish of Government that Zambians participate in mining activities from the point of mineral exploration to that of production and sale.