An interesting development on an issue we have previously discussed here. A company is exploring setting up the refinery in the province, although it is currently hampered by good old ZESCO :
Power outages affect Genesis Group of Companies expansion in Luapula, ZANIS (September 24, 2009) :
Genesis Group of Companies (GGC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brett Brannigan says the low power electricity supply by ZESCO has hindered his company's expansion and operations in Luapula province. Speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Mansa today, Mr Brannigan said his firm has not been able to open up a smelter to process manganese ore for export.
The CEO said that the company required about 18-megawatts to set up a smelter but pointed out that the power utility company in Luapula province (ZESCO ) only six megawatts to the mining firm. Mr. Brannigan said his company could not go ahead opening the smelter without guarantee from ZESCO to increase the electricity output in the area.
He said the manganese refining process requires adequate and specific power supply adding that if partially refined the manganese ore turns into a rock which takes months to be refined again. However, Mr. Brannigan said that the mining firm has plans to set up a smelter by mid 2010 once the Copperbelt Energy Company (CEC) starts providing power to the mine in Luapula Province.
Mr. Brannigan revealed that CEC has been talking with GGC to have power supplied to the mining firm once the project is done.
He explained that even though Base metals prices have not yet recovered on the international market GCC exports between 4000 and 5000 metric tones of manganese per month. He said there is market for manganese ore on the Copperbelt noting that it was sad the his company has not been able to sell to mining firms because its manganese is not refined.
Mr. Brannigan said that the aim of the company was to create job opportunities and increase revenue in Luapula province by partnering with small scale miners who have mining licenses.
He explained that when the company came to Luapula province it opted to partner with small scale miners in order for the people of Luapula province to be empowered.
He further explained that GGC would have bought mining rights when it came to Luapula province but did not buy mining rights because it wanted to assist small scale miners by partnering with them to enhance development.
He said government wanted GGC to set up a smelter in Mansa in order to create alternative opportunities for others to develop more businesses in Luapula province. He said the company provides employment for the local people as evident by the 300 permanent Zambians workers against four foreign workers employed by GGC.
Mr. Brannigan said GGC was partnering with small scale miners which in turn assisted to uplift the living standards of people because it is the second largest employer in Luapula province from government which was giving a lot of contributions to NAPSA and the community.