On 22nd December 2009, the people of Luanshya rejoiced. Luanshya Mine opened again!
Exactly 183 days, after Luanshya Copper Mine was taken over by Non-Ferrous Copper Mine (CNCM), President Banda switched on power to the 11 kilometer conveyer belt which transported the first copper ore from Baluba Mine to the concentrator.
As for me, I always feel welcoming greetings whenever I enter the gates to the town - welcome home! You see, I was born in Luanshya, grew up there and got employed there, but I left it for greener pastures in August 2000!
Luanshya mine was one of the casualties in the over 12,000 job losses that the country experienced in less than 6 months in the year 2009. As a result, thousands of jobs of local people were ended.
Luanshya mine has always depended on copper for its economy since 1928.
When the mine was privatized by the Zambian government, Binani Group of companies took it over in 1997. Shortly thereafter they pulled out and the mine was re-opened by J and W.
These also decided to close down, citing the falling copper prices on the international market.
In August 2009, Luanshya Mine started operations under a new investor from China.
Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM) is now called China Non-Ferrous Mining Company Luanshya Copper Mine (CNCM).
CNCM took over the mine from Enya Holdings, which had placed the mine under care and maintenance for six months.
Dignitaries who witnessed the opening of the mine were, Vice President George Kunda, former President Kenneth Kaunda and cabinet and deputy ministers.
At the time of the opening, CNCM had so far spent US$ 38 million to habilitate the surface and replace obsolete equipment at the mine. And also by the time of commissioning of the mine, more than 2,000 people had been employed.
Meanwhile, China Non-ferrous Copper Mine (CNCM) vice president Tao Xinghu said his company invested in Zambia at the a time when other investors were pulling out. Mr. Tao said Chinese partnership with Zambia was an indication of a cordial relation between the two counties. He further said that CNCM persisted to ensure that the people were not out of employment.
And Mine Workers Union of Zambia president Rayford Mbulu had welcomed the resumption of production at the mine. He commended Government on its quick response in ensuring that the mine was back to life.
National Union of Miners and Allied Workers president Mundia Sikufele said many people would benefit from the re-opening of the mine.
Yes, 22nd December 2009 when Luanshya mine opened, will long be remembered by Luanshya residents!
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