Saturday, December 15, 2007
By Nomusa Michelo
Saturday December 15, 2007 [03:00]
FIRST Quantum Minerals will soon begin transporting copper concentrate from its mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo to smelter facilities in Zambia. In a statement from First Quantum president Clive Newall on the company’s website on Wednesday, the firm said it had worked with the government to resolve issues which include measurement procedures for concentrate movement on the DRC side of the border and communicating the export procedures following a letter it received last month stopping the movement of copper concentrates from DRC to Zambia.
The statement said First Quantum had already agreed with the relevant DRC government authorities in Katanga Province governor Moses Katumbi’s office that the company will “shortly” begin transporting concentrate from Frontier to Zambia.
“Subsequently, the issues regarding concentrate movements from Frontier have been resolved and the transportation of concentrate from the DRC to Zambian smelter facilities will commence shortly,” the statement read. “Plant operations at Frontier are expected to recommence in a few days after reduction of the concentrate stockpile.”
The restart of ore shipments from the company’s Lonshi Mine was awaiting final authorisation from the DRC authorities.
The statement read that First Quantum had last month received a letter from Katumbi, ordering the closure of the DRC border to the export of copper ores and exploration core samples from the Lonshi Mine to Zambia, and ‘advising’ the company not to ship copper concentrate from Frontier into the country.
“Consequently the Frontier concentrate storage shed has filled up with product resulting in plant operations having to be suspended on December, 11,” First Quantum said.
At Lonshi Mine, issues raised by the governor’s office included communicating details about the mining of the final remaining oxide ore and the mine’s various social programmes.
Mining operations at both mines had been unaffected by the order, First Quantum said.
Katumbi closed the border with neighbouring Zambia to trucks transporting raw copper and cobalt ore on March 3, seeking to force mining companies to produce value-added processed products inside Katanga.