Barrick Gold will invest about US$2 billion in an expansion project designed to increase Lumwana’s annual production capacity to an estimated 240,000 tonnes.
And President Hakainde Hichilema said the Lumwana mine expansion programme showed the confidence that investors had in the Government’s mine policies.
Barrick chief executive officer Mark Bristow, who met President Hichilema on Tuesday, said transforming Lumwana into a world-class producer would provide strong impetus for the Government’s thrust to revive the country’s copper industry.
Mr Bristow also said the company intended to create a 50 million tonne per annum process plant over a 36-year life of mine that would elevate the once-unprofitable operation into the front rank of copper producers.
“Our global network, we seek to share the economic benefits generated by our mines with the countries’ governments and people, notably our neighbouring communities.
“Barrick believes that its host countries are its key stakeholders and that partnering with them creates sustainable value for both of us. In Zambia as elsewhere,” he said.
This is according to a Press statement published on the company website released yesterday.
Mr Bristow explained that the project’s accelerated work programme was targeting completion of the full feasibility study by the end of 2024, bringing expected expanded process plant production forward to 2028.
He said the company was on track to deliver its production target for 2023 and was ramping up owner mining with both the reopening of the Malundwe pit as well as delivery of the new owner mining pre-stripping fleet.
And the statement notes that President Hichilema, who was elated by the news of the planned expansion, called on Barrick to prioritise local content and increase the participation of Zambian suppliers to the Lumwana mine.
“This is a show of confidence in our New Dawn Government by one of the world’s leading mining companies. Our laser focus is on establishing Zambia as a global mining destination. We have also set ourselves the target of producing three million tonnes of copper by 2030. Barrick is a key strategic partner on this journey,” Mr Hichilema said.
The President also encouraged Barrick to deploy the most advanced mining technology and invest in downstream value addition in support of the New Dawn’s vision of establishing green industrial parks in Zambia.
The statement also states that since Barrick took over operations at Lumwana in 2019, the mine had contributed almost US$3 billion to the Zambian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, salaries and the procurement of goods and services. It further added that in its local procurement policy, the company was also committed to local employment and 99.3 per cent of Lumwana’s current workforce was Zambian nationals.
Last year, Barrick launched a Business Accelerator Programme aimed at building business capacity for the Zambian contractors in Lumwana’s supply chain and to support them in effecting their own growth plans.
It was also partnering with the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises to support the development of these businesses.