14 January 2013

Zambia: 2,000 FQM Jobs in Offing in Solwezi

MORE than 2,000 Zambians are expected to be employed at the First Quantum Minerals (FQM)'s Sentinel Mine in Solwezi in North-Western Province when it is fully operational.

An additional 600 people will also be employed at FQM's planned US$400 million (KR 2 billion) smelter to be built in Solwezi.

Plans by FQM to develop the second of the three potential mines at its large-scale Trident mining project at a cost of $275 million (about K1.3 trillion or KR 1.3 billion) have reached an advanced stage.

Trident Resources optimisation manager John Gladston said yesterday that the potential maximum copper output per year from the proposed Sentinel Mine at Trident was 300,000 tonnes.

"The significance at the single largest investment in Zambia by FQM is best captured in the potential to create wealth and job creation through encouraging private sector growth," Mr Gladston said in a statement.

He said the Enterprise Nickel Project was being designed to produce an average of 38,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate per annum with the scope to increase to 60,000 tonnes if the nickel market conditions would allow.

Mr Gladston said the enterprise development required a capital investment of $275 million which lifted the total approved capital estimate for the Trident Project to $2.0 billion (about KR10 billion).

"Enterprise is part of the Trident projects which includes the sentinel copper deposits that are currently under development.

"As Enterprise is located just 12 kilometres north of Sentinel, it is expected that its development cost will benefit by sharing infrastructure a unique and significant synergy that will make it a low-cost operation," he said.

The Enterprise main zone is a series of relatively shallow dipping mineralised bodies covering an area of 1,000 metres by 500 metres and ranging in thickness from a few metres to over 80 metres.

Mr Gladston said that an intensive resource definition drill programme was completed during 2012.

In April 2011, Government granted FQM large-scale mining licences for the development of the Trident Project that had three potential mines which include Sentinel, Enterprise and Intrepid.

The licence gave FQM the exclusive rights to carry out mining operations on the full area of interests at Trident, situated 150 kilometres west of Solwezi for a period of 25 years.

He said recent drilling had been focused on a nearby satelite zone known as Enterprise Southwest, while some 359 diamond core holes for over 116,000 metres had been drilled as part of the programme.

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