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Johannesburg, South Africa. African Rainbow Minerals Limited (“ARM”) together with its 50:50 joint venture partner Vale S.A. ("Vale") today hosted the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Konkola North Copper Project in Zambia (“the Project”).
Construction of the Project was officially opened by His Excellency the President of Zambia, Rupiah Bwezani Banda. Other dignitaries present included ARM Executive Chairman; Patrice Motsepe, the President and CEO of Vale; Roger Agnelli, the Zambian Minister of Mines and Mineral Development; Maxwell Mwale as well as the Chairman of ZCCM; Alfred J. Lungu.
The Project, which is located in the Chililabombwe District in the Copperbelt Province, was released for approval by ARM and Vale in August 2010. Capital expenditure for the development of the Project will be US$400 million with construction already under way. The Konkola North Copper Mine is expected to produce 45 000 tonnes of copper in concentrate per annum with the first copper extraction expected in 2013 and full production in 2015. On completion, the mine is expected to provide ongoing employment for approximately 1 500 people.
The life of the mine is estimated at 28 years. A further three year exploration programme to evaluate area A which has the potential to increase output to 100 000 tonnes per annum is already in progress. Initially the South East Limb will be developed after which the deeper higher grade and wider reef areas will be mined.
ARM Executive Chairman Patrice Motsepe said today at the event: “We would like the African Rainbow Minerals, Vale and ZCCM-IH partnership to be a role model investor whose track record reflects genuine and significant commitment to the communities who live near the mine, the workers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders”
The development of the Konkola North Copper Mine adds a new commodity to ARM’s portfolio of commodities and is ARM’s first operational interest outside of South Africa. ARM sees the Project as early development for a copper growth strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa.