* Increased efficiency, cost cuts key to higher output
* Mine will build uranium plant
* Stockpiling uranium from Malundwe pit
By Chris Mfula
LUSAKA, Nov 25 Zambia's Lumwana Mining Co. Ltd.,
a unit of Equinox Minerals Ltd. EQN.TOEQN.AX plans to raise
copper output through greater efficiency and also plans to build
a uranium plant, its managing director said on Wednesday.
Adam Wright, who took over from Harry Michael a fortnight
ago, said at a news briefing in Lusaka that the company would in
2010 ramp up production to 170,000 tonnes from a projected
110,000 this year.
Wright said that copper production in the third quarter
ending September 2009 had risen to 28,000 tonnes from 24,000
tonnes in the previous quarter, giving hope the company would
ramp up total annual output to the 170,000 tonnes target.
Lumwana, which Equinox says is Africa's largest open pit
mine, cut its 2009 copper output forecast to 110,000 tonnes from
170,000 tonnes after delaying its start up by five months until
December last year, following a fire at the site's processing
plant and heavy rains early this year.
"It is more to do with production. When we increase
production to full capacity it will give us a lower unit cost,"
Wright said when asked how the company planned to cut costs. He
did not say at what capacity Lumwana was currently operating.
Wright said the mine's focus would also be to ensure safety
to avoid disruptions in production.
"The good thing is that production has kept rising. All the
ingredients are there to make Lumwana one of the greatest mines
in the world. We need to produce at full production and as
efficiently as we can," Wright said.
Wright said Lumwana was stockpiling uranium from its
Mulundwe pit and would study the option of building a uranium
processing facility in future.
Equinox has completed a feasibility study, investigating
onsite treatment of discrete and high grade uranium
mineralisation contained in the Lumwana copper pit shells, he
(Reporting By Chris Mfula, Editing by Shapi Shacinda and
((Johannesburg newsroom; +27 11 775 3155))
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