By Chite Mtonga
Mopani Copper Mines has spent more than US$1.2 billion on the sinking of three new shafts to extend the lifespan of its mines in Kitwe and Mufulira by over 25 years, Konkola mines in Kalulushi also invested to extend its lifespan for over 70 years, Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development Director of Mines Mooya Lumamba has disclosed.
He was responding to reports by the Chamber of Mines that the Mining industry would be in crisis if no new mines were explored for exploitation.
He said that it was important for exploration works to be carried out as it would enhance the production base.
Mr. Lumamba said that Government undertook preliminary exploration but it was private companies which did the main exploration of minerals and such explorations were costly.
“Mineral exploration is vital to enhancing the production base, but what must be understood is that Government only does preliminary exploration and the actual exploration is done by private companies, exploration is quite expensive and there is no guarantee that companies will get their money back, with the prices of copper that in the recent past months went down, you find that there was little interest in carrying out mineral exploration from private companies,” he said.
Zambia Chamber of Mines president Nathan Chishimba on Sunday said that a crisis was looming in the mining sector if no new mine explorations works were undertaken.