Zambia approves $640 mln First Quantum copper smelter

LUSAKA Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:34am EST

LUSAKA Nov 21 (Reuters) - Zambia has granted environmental approval to Canadian group First Quantum Minerals for a planned 300,000 tonnes per year copper smelter, the environmental management agency said on Wednesday.

First Quantum applied in July for environmental approval for the $640 million smelter at its Kansanshi mine licence area in the Solwezi, about 600 kilometres north-west of Lusaka.

The operations of the smelter will involve smelting copper concentrate to produce blister copper as a product and granulated slag as waste, it said.

"The developer shall conduct radiation tests to ensure that the concentrate that shall be processed is free of uranium at all times," the environmental agency said.

The project has a projected lifespan of over 20 years and the total anticipated work force during operation stage is 800.

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