CHIBULUMA Mines Plc a subsidiary of Metorex group of companies is to invest at least K14 billion (about US$28 million) in its exploration projects aimed at increasing the company's copper reserves.
Chibuluma mine environmental and metallurgical manager Jackson Sikamo said the money would be invested in four exploration projects the company would undertake.
He said about US$9 million had already been spent on other exploration works which commenced in 2010.
Mr Sikamo said that the US$28 would be for exploration works starting next year to years beyond and that drilling would commence by the end of this month.
He said that over the last years, the firm had extensively drilled thus increasing its copper reserves which currently stood at 4.6 million tonnes for the period running from 2012 to 2017 consequently resulting in the extension of the mine's lifespan.
Speaking in Lusaka during a stakeholders meeting, Mr Sikamo said that the mine had indentified several new potential mining targets within its mining licensed area.
He said given the high potential of existence of copper within the four sites, the initial goal was to increase the reserve and extend the mine's lifespan from 2017 to beyond.
Mr Sikamo added that the south mine had about 3.4 million tonnes copper reserves with Chifupu having 1.2 million tonnes.
"The lifespan for the mine has been extended from 2017 to 2021 following the increase in copper deposits and newly identified sites for mining, we will start the exploration work on four sites within the mine," he said.
He named the projects as Chifupu, Chibuluma south mine and Chibuluma.
The company has also applied for additional areas west and north of the mine.
Mr Sikamo said the company has so far invested over US$170 million in its operations and that this is expected to increase through exploration programmes.
And speaking at the same function, mines minister Yamfwa Mukanga said the Government had created an enabling environment for both international and local investors to undertake mineral exploration and develop new mines.
Mr Mukanga said mining firms should use mineral exploration methods that would help obtain positive results, furthermore contribute to sustainable economic development of the local area and Zambia at large.
"As Government we will ensure that we support the growth of sector and for that, we will continue creating favourable investment policies that will attract more investments in the country,' he said.