June 13, 2007

Mines social responsibility attracts state's interest / More copper deposits discovered near Lumwana

Government is committed to ensuring that the mining sector ploughs back part of its profits into communities even as it continues regaining its strengths in the economy, Mines and Minerals Development Minister, Kalombo Mwansa, has said. In a statement Mwansa said while the performance of the mining sector had improved tremendously in the past few years, little was known about their social responsibility. According to him, the large-scale mining firms in particular had taken corporate social responsibility seriously and were engaged in various practical services in the local communities in which they were operating. Mwansa stressed that for example Chibuluma South Mine Limited had during the period of January to March that year been involved in programmes that covered health, sports, and support to Government institutions as well as infrastructure development.
In the area of health, the company participated in the malaria campaign in Kalulushi by providing materials worth US$10.000, and spent $50.000 in subsidising operations of the Kalulushi Mine Hospital monthly. Chibuluma spent $150.000 on hospital operations and had completed the construction of a clinic, which would house services such as ante-natal and HIV/AIDS awareness. The mine also supported rugby and football and had been supporting the Zambia police in both Kalulushi and Lufwanyama by providing fuel which would cost $20.000 this financial year. About $750.000 had been set aside for mending community roads and construction of the access road from the mine to the airport.
Mwansa stressed that development required cooperation of all stakeholders in the community and encouraged mining companies to work closely with the local community. To keep the public informed on the contributions of mining companies, each firm would continue to submit to the ministry of Mines and Minerals Dev elopement a quarterly report on its corporate social responsibility.
In the meantime, Equinox Minerals has identified further deposits of copper and uranium near its Lumwana Copper Project, which is presently under construction in Solwezi in the North-Western Province. Equinox president and chief executive officer, Craig Williams said in a statement that the exploration activities on the 1.355 kilometre large scale mining licence had focussed on the Kanga and Kababisa prospects. "Equinox is pleased to report that exploration and drilling progress continues to identify new sulphide mineralisation discoveries near its Lumwana Copper Project," Williams said. According to him, the exploration results at the Kanga copper and uranium mineralization and the Kababisa intersections, which were both close to the Lumwana process plant, could lead to the discovery of additional Lumwana resources. "Enhancements to the current Lumwana mine plan may also be possible by bringing forward certain mine scheduling of higher grade deposits and by extending the mine life through mining these extra areas and resources. Coupled with the additional uranium mineralisation, these positive results continue to deliver upside for the corporation as it progresses with its construction activities and uranium feasibility study," he said.
The Kanga Prospect extends south from the Malundwe pit where mining has started, while the Kababisa prospect lies approximately 5 kilometres north of the current Lumwana process plant. "This zone of mineralisation has strong similarities to the nearby Malundwe ore body and consequently, a combined RC and diamond-drilling programme has commenced to evaluate the importance of Kababisa on a priority basis," he said. (The Times of Zambia, Ndola)

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