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:: Mopani Invest $27 Million to Upgrade its Nkana Cobalt Plant
Mopani Copper mines Plc is to invest more than KR142, 000,000 ($27,000,000) to upgrade its Nkana Cobalt Plant which will result in an increase in production capacity from 2,800 tonnes to 7,000 tonnes of cobalt metal per annum. The upgrade will also improve the quality of the metal produced. Additionally and more importantly, this investment will secure and sustain more than 300 jobs.
This project upgrade is critical to Zambia’s economy as the government seeks ways of creating more jobs and sustaining existing ones. The Minister of Labour and Social Security, Honourable Fackson Shamenda, commended Mopani for the initiative. He said: “What Mopani has done is one of the best industrial practices we are looking at as government. I wish all companies could take a leaf from Mopani and invest in production and protect jobs for our people. This is how any responsible company should behave. Some companies are looking at every opportunity to retrench people, but Mopani has shown commitment to creating and sustaining jobs."
The upgrade of the plant will enable processing of intermediate cobalt hydroxide from third-party concentrates to produce cobalt metal. The Cobalt plant will also have expanded cobalt electrowining capacity, full nickel removal and manganese rejection process and improved filtration technology.
The investment will also facilitate production of a nickel by-product from third party concentrate feed. The plant is expected to be commissioned in June 2014.
Mopani Copper Mines Plc Chief Executive Officer, Danny Callow, commented: “I’m happy that our Cobalt Plant will resume operations next year following the approval of KR142, 000,000 investment into the upgrade of the plant. This investment will not only more than double production, but will also secure more that 300 jobs as well as sustain government revenue, not to mention other spillover benefits for suppliers, contractors and the surrounding communities. The upgrade is in line with our Company’s objectives and government plans to increase investment so as to create more jobs and sustain existing ones. This investment will make a significant contribution to Zambia’s economy."
Kitwe Mayor, Chileshe Bweupe, commented, “The imminent reopening of the Nkana Cobalt Plant following investment by Mopani is the best news we have received so far this year as Kitwe City Council, especially looking at the number of jobs that will be secured and the obvious trickledown effect to the economy of the city." He added, “We are confident that with such investment as Mopani is making in Kitwe, the future of our city is secured. We can breathe a sigh of relief that we are not hearing about job losses, instead jobs are being secured. Well done to Mopani. We will continue to partner with Mopani in the development of our City."
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