Luanshya belongs to a family of copper mining towns on the Copperbelt province of Zambia. This town owes its existence to copper. Although other minerals like cobalt are also mined here.
The town was founded in the early part of the 20th century by an explorer/prospector, William Collier.
It is situated on an altitude of 1257m above sea level and has a population of about 115,579(2000) census. The area is in the land of the Lamba people, but due to the demand for labour on the mines, a lot of people came here in search of employment on the mines. As a result, the population here is mixed up, a combination of several tribes and other races.
The town makes a good stopover when travelling through the Copperbelt.
The mining sector has gone through a lot of transformation, from the day when William Collier shot a Roan Antelope to date. Incidentally, the antelope which Collier had shot fell on the ground where copper ore was exposed. And this was the start of mining and the birth of the town as we know it today.
Roan Antelope copper Mines, the company formed after collier’s adventure was named in honour of the antelope that he had killed.
The town has seen some bad times of late. With the demise of some mines which became costly to operate, coupled with low prices of copper on the world market, a lot of people where laid off.
However, the town did get a new lease of life with the development of Muliashi Mines by Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM). This new revival was complimented by a rise in copper prices on the international market. Unfortunately, starting around October 2008, copper prices went down again!
This resulted in the closure of the mines in January 2009. As a result, about 1,500 employees were declared redundant.
On 22nd December 2009, the mining town officially came to life! It was taken over by China Non-Ferrous Mining Company Luanshya Copper Mine (CNCM).
At the time of this writing (September 2016), due to low commodity prices, the mines are again on care and maintenance, with over 1,500 employees on the streets.
The town is divided into two residential areas, the municipal area and the mining area. Non miners live in the municipal and miners live in the mining area. Most of the municipal area consists of Mikomfwa Township, while Roan, Mpatamato and part of the town area make up the mining townships.
Currently there seven banks in Luanshya; Barclays Bank, Zanaco, Bank ABC, Standard Chartered Bank, Finance Bank and National Savings and Credit Bank (Natsave) and FNB Bank.
The town has four residential places; Luanshya town, Mikomfwa, Roan and Mpatamatu.
Where do you spend a night if you are a visitor here? There are good lodges such Namwali lodge, Pakawama lodge and Mwetete Executive Guest House.
Check for lodges in Luanshya here.
If your intention is to fly into town, you will use Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (formally Ndola International Airport) and proceed by road.
The few best eating places in Luanshya that I sampled are Nsofu Restaurant, Manor Foods and Anka Trade Centre in the town centre and Veronas Enterprises at second class shopping centre.
Being a mining town, almost all the social amenities and activities are connected to the mines. The biggest area with a lot of sports facilities is the Roan Antelope Recreation club. On offer is the cricket club, tennis club, live theatre at RADOS, rugby club, bowling and a well-kept swimming pool. The Golf Club is located on the other side of the town.
If you would like plenty of fresh air and water, you can go for the Makoma Dam. The dam is a big attraction during the weekend. Makoma was made as a result of tailings, a process undertaken during the process of refining copper.
You want to get away from the hustle and bustle of town life? Try Mubende Country Lodge, near Luanshya town. Situated at exactly 11 kilometres from Luanshya town, the lodge is truly a beauty.
The Levy Business Park, named after third president of the Republic of Zambia Levy Mwanawasa is dubbed as the "latest jewel".
The Golden Pillow Lodge, found in Southern Province has three branches in Mazabuka, Monze and Choma.