Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) recently confirmed that it is proceeding with plans to resume output at the Mimbula open pit mine as part of Vedanta's strategy to extend mine life at its operations. KCM has been carrying out feasibility studies since 2011 at Mimbula including extension of the power line to the site as well as pit de-watering and de-silting as mining has not taken place there since the 1970s. The feasibility has been completed and now it plans to invest US$200m.
The company is currently awaiting environmental approvals for the project. The production capacity of the mine had not yet been established but early indications suggest that it has huge deposits of copper. Subject to approval, mining of ore should start April 2014. The Mimbula open pit mine is expected to create a maximum of 600 jobs.
The outlook for copper production is looking very positive. Copper production is expected to exceed 1.5m tonnes in 2015 from the current 0.8m tonnes. Among new projects due to come online are the expansion of Lumwana Copper Mine, First Quantum's $2bn greenfield Trident project, China Nonferrous Mining Corporation's $832m copper project and the Lubambe mine jointly owned by Brazil's Vale, African Rainbow Minerals and state-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings.