China To Invest Further In African Copper Production

Both China and India investing heavily in Zambia's copper industry, as international demand grows, report says.

The China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining (CNMC) company will invest $500 million over three years to construct a non-ferrous industrial zone in Chambishi, Zambia, on the Copper Belt region in the north of the country, according to a report by Industrial Info Resources.

At the Chambishi site, work has started on a $220 million smelter, which will have a  production capacity of 150,000 tons of blister copper per year and will create 1,000 new jobs. The smelter is expected to be in full operation by the end of 2008.

This new capacity will increase Zambia's exports by $450 million, and could bring Zambia’s annual output to 800,000 tons with one million tons per year as the goal by 2010, according to Industrial Info.

CNMC already has operations in Zambia, including a a 65,000 tons-per-year copper concentrate company in Chambishi that began operating in 2003, and a $12 million leach and acid plant, with a capacity of 10,000 tons of copper annually, was commissioned in this past September.

In early November, at the China-Africa Summit in Beijing, China signed contracts worth $1.9 billion with 11 African countries for minerals and infrastructure projects, with potential plans for more large Afro-Sino projects in the future, according to the report.

For the past several months, Zambia's copper facilities have been struggling to increase production capacity to meet the high demand and high prices on the international market, fueled by Chinese demands. Both China and India have significant investments in Zambia's copper industry, and are driving production capacities to the limit, Industrial Info noted.

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