* New mine and smelter to cost $2.4 bln
* Development to start after commercial talks
LUSAKA, March 26 Canada's First Quantum minerals
said on Monday an independent study has confirmed that a
planned new copper mine in Zambia should last at least 15 years.
The estimates on the Sentinel copper project by an
independent consultant matched those of the company, First
Quantum said in a statement.
It is part of the Trident project that is located
approximately 150 km west (90 miles) of the flagship Kansanshi
The findings justified plans to develop Sentinel into a
state-of-the-art facility capable of producing up to 300,000
tonnes of copper in concentrate annually, First Quantum said.
Plans call for developing the facility over two years at the
same time as a new copper smelter that would process all of
Sentinel's concentrate production, eliminating the need to
"We estimate Sentinel and the smelter project will require a
capital investment of over $2.4 billion, including an extensive
infrastructure development programme, and create approximately
2,400 direct jobs for Zambians," it said.
Development now awaits conclusion of commercial negotiations
currently under way, the company said.
The miner has an 80 percent stake in the Kansanshi mine in
Zambia, the world's eighth-largest copper mine. It also produces
copper and gold from the Guelb Moghrein mine in Mauritania.