MOPANI Copper Mines Plc will invest more than KR142,000,000 (US$27,000,000) to upgrade the Nkana cobalt plant which will result in increased production capacity from 2,800 tonnes to 7,000 tonnes of cobalt metal per annum.
The upgrade of the plant would also improve the quality of the metal produced and that the investment would further secure more than 300 jobs.
MCM public relations manager Cephas Sinyangwe said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that the upgrade was critical to Zambia's economy as the Government sought ways of creating more jobs and sustaining existing ones.
He said the upgrade of the plant would enable processing of intermediate cobalt hydroxide from third-party concentrates to produce cobalt metal.
Mr Sinyangwe said the Cobalt plant would also have expanded cobalt electro capacity, full nickel removal and manganese rejection process as well as improved filtration technology.
The investment would also facilitate production of a nickel by-product from third party concentrate feed.
The plant is expected to be commissioned in June 2014.
Company chief executive officer, Danny Callow was happy that the Cobalt plant would resume operations next year following the approval of KR142,000,000 investments into the upgrade of the plant.
Labour and Social Security Minister, Fackson Shamenda commended Mopani for the initiative.
"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," Mr Shamenda said.