PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema yesterday launched the US$100 million Mimbula Mine expansion project that is forecast to increase annual copper output from 10,000 tonnes to 56,000 tonnes.
The Mimbula Mine, which is owned by Moxico Resources Limited in Chingola, has already created 900 jobs and dished out US4 million worth of contracts to local companies.
President Hichilema said efforts should be made to encourage mining investments of all sizes to achieve the ambitious target of reaching three million tonnes in the next five years.
“This is a very good day, I am happy about what has been achieved so far,if the mine does well then we will be talking about boosting the country’s economy,” he said.
He said the country had a lot of mineral resources which could enable the country reach the anticipated three million tonnes target in 10 years.
President Hichilema said every tonne counted towards the attainment of three million tonnes.
He said it was encouraging that the mining investor had developed the mine in record time signifying the seriousness it attached to mine development.
British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley said the US$100 million investment by Moxico Resources was the single-most biggest investments by a United Kingdom (UK) investor.
“It is astonishing that the mining project has been executed in such short time,” he said.
Mr Woolley said the recent £2 billion green energy compact agreement between Zambia and the UK as well as the announced US$2billion investment pledges would go a long way in enhancing the economy in the country.
Meanwhile, Mimbula Mine chief executive officer Allan Davies said the project had created 900 job opportunities.
Mr Davies said the mine had so far spent to the tune of US$4milion on local suppliers that had gone a long way in boosting economic activities in Chingola and the surrounding areas.
The project produced the first copper cathode from the processing of surface material at the KCM tailings leach plant in 2020.
Mineworkers Union of Zambia President Joseph Chewe urged the mine to consider engaging all workers on permanent basis.