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Berkerley Mineral Resources (BMR), through its Zambian subsidiary Enviro Processing Limited (EPL), is to re-open Kabwe Mine and will invest US$300mn into the mine's operations

Kabwe Mine concentrator plantThe former concentrator plant at Kabwe Mine. (Image source: BMR)

BMR, a firm listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), said that it would create more than 1,000 jobs in Zambia's Central Province capital over a period of 10 years from 2014, when it is expects operations to commence at the mine.

According to EPL chairman Masoud Alikhani, since 2008, EPL has been acquiring surface rights in Kabwe and licences over zinc and lead tailing dumps. Alikhani said that between 2011 and 2012 EPL completed the acquisition of all the relevant assets, surface rights, mining plot and licences.

"I believe that the reopening of Kabwe Mine will bring great news to the people of Kabwe as it will lead to the cleaning of the environment, creating jobs and regeneration of Kabwe town," he enthused in a speech read for him by BMR general manger for Africa, Dennis Human.

Since 2011, BMR's assets have been vested in EPL, which is a 100 per cent Zambian-owned subsidiary and owns the unmined areas and partially-mined underground resources at Kabwe Mine.

Once production starts, EPL will employ mostly former Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) workers who will be central to operations of the company.

"The reopening of Kabwe Mine will support much-needed employment in the once vibrant and popular mining town. Currently, EPL is waiting for environmental approval from Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to start mining activities," Alikhani said.

The government closed Kabwe Mine in 1994 leading to an economic slump in Kabwe that led to it being branded a 'ghost town' by locals. It has been reported that other minerals such as indium, silver and gallium could be found inside the mine's tailing dumps.

Nawa Mutumweno