Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal
Canadian High Commissioner for Zambia John Deyell was in Sudbury January 31 to promote a trade mission to the Zambian copper belt.
The central African country was the fourth largest copper producer in the world until nationalization sent the industry into a tailspin.
A new regime, though, has re-privatized the industry and new opportunities for mining supply and service companies abound, said Deyell, who worked at Inco and Falconbridge in Sudbury early in his career.
Zambia is a landlocked country between troubled Zimbabwe to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north. Traditionally, the Zambian mining industry has relied on South Africa for mining supplies and services, but road traffic from South Africa to Zambia through Zimbabwe has become increasingly dangerous.
At the same time, Deyell said, a new container port and paved highway from Walvis Bay on the Atlantic coast offers safe and efficient road access across Namibia to the Zambesi River where the Germans have recently completed a new bridge linking Namibia and Zambia.
A Vancouver company, First Quantum Minerals Ltd., is a major player in Zambia, operating the 100 per cent-owned Bwana Mkubwa copper mine and the 80 per cent-owned Kansanshi open pit copper-gold deposit. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, across the border from Zambia’s copper belt, First Quantum operates the 100 per cent-owned Lonshi open pit copper mine. The company also has interests in several other operations.
According to Deyell, Zambia has a market-oriented government, and has had free and fair elections since 1991.
“It’s the most stable country in the region,” Deyell said. “It’s never had a coup or a violent overthrow of government and it’s a very secure place.”