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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Bigger than Lumwana?

ZNBC News are reporting that China's Zhonghui International Mining Group plans to invest £2bn to create " a new city" in North Western Province. Natural skeptism with regards to the announcement, one after all remembers the oil discoveries that were muted during another bye-election and have never materialised, apparently "slowed" by the need for new legislation. That aside if true, this could be bigger than anything Zambia has seen before. Article reproduced below:

A Chinese mining company conducting explorations on the Copperbelt has appealed to the government for a mine prospecting licence. Zhonghui Mining Industry want to open up new mines in Luapula and North-Western provinces at a cost of $2 billion.

Company President Charles Shi said the firm plans to set up a new city in the North-Western Province, complete with an independent hydropower station and water supply system.

Mr. Shi said the mining company does NOT intend to use power from ZESCO's national grid but to construct a new hydro power station on one of the rivers in the North-Western.

He said Friday that if approved, the smelter will be biggest in Zambia. Mr. Shi was speaking at the headquarters of Zhonghui International Mining Group based in Beijing when he met Commerce Minister, Felix Mutati.

Mr. Mutati said once implemented, the project will be the biggest investment by a private company in the history of Zambia.


  1. Cho,

    One question that leaps immediately to mind is, who owns the hydro power station once the copper is gone? If transfer of the station is not included in the licensing, what compensation for the land and water involved in its construction and operation? In the event that upstream irrigation competes for supply with hydro power operations, who gets the water in drought years (we have this problem where I live)?

    Who gets the construction contracts? By what route and means do they expect to export the copper? Who will live and work in this city? Do they live nearby already? What will they and their children be doing for a living after copper?

    If this is indeed to be the biggest ever private investment in the extraction of Zambia's natural resources in her history, it behooves those negotiating on her behalf to achieve the biggest ever private compensation package in history as well.

  2. I agree completely, who is going to own this 'new city'? What are the terms of investment? Is it another 'investment for investment's sake' project where Zambia and the Zambian economy is going to lose out?

    The government has an obligation to lay out every detail of this project in parliament.

  3. Unfortunately, I have the same questions! The trouble is no one else is asking. lol!


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