* Full mine production to start in 2015
* Mine to produce 45,000 T of copper concentrate/yr
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 27 (Reuters) - African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) (ARIJ.J) said on Friday that the construction of a new copper mine in Zambia, which it is developing with Brazil’s Vale VALE5.SA, has begun in August, with full output eyed in 2015.
The South African diversified miner said total capital expenditure for the project is estimated at $380 million, down from a previous forecast of $400 million.
“Construction commenced in August 2010 with commissioning of the concentrator plant expected 27 months later. The mine is planned to reach full production in 2015,” ARM said in a statement. The life of the Konkola North mine, owned by the Konnoco Zambia joint venture split 50-50 between ARM and Vale, is estimated at 28 years, expected to yield 45,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year.
The company is conducting exploration to see if it can double output to 100,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year. “The new copper mine .... is significant because it adds a new exciting commodity to our diverse commodity portfolio and is also our first investment in Africa,” said ARM’s Executive Chairman Patrice Motsepe.
The investment expands ARM’s portfolio, which includes mining of platinum, ferrous metals such as iron ore, chrome and manganese, and coal.
Copper mining is Zambia’s economic mainstay, and the mines are a major employer in this southern African country of 12 million people.
Foreign mining companies in Zambia include Canada’s First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), London-listed Vedanta Resources VED.L, Glencore International of Switzerland [GLEN.UL] and Metorex MTXJ.J of South Africa. (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak)