From a very profitable zinc and lead mining town, the town is now a transit point for people going to the north or south of the country. Lead and zinc deposits were discovered in 1902.
Originally, the town was known as Broken Hill, named after a similar mine in Australia. The mine became one of the biggest mines before the advent of copper mines on the Copperbelt. It has an estimated population of about 208,000 (as of 2011 Census) and is the capital of the central province. The broken hill town became known as Kabwe in 1966. Fossil bones (skull) and primitive implements were discovered in 1921 during mining operations. The bones became known as Rhodesian man or by other two names as Broken hill man and the 'Kabwe Cranium'.
The mine is now being used by small scale miners with no capacity to run it on a full scale basis. These miners are extracting metals from old tailings in what has been found to be one of the worst polluted places in the world, mostly because of heavy metals like lead and zinc.
The town is also a good base from which to explore the surrounding attractions such as Mulungushi Dam and Lunsemfwa river valleys.
The town is located at a junction to all parts of the country and the surrounding countries. The Railway Systems of Zambia (R.S.Z.) runs both freight and passenger services to Lusaka and beyond and the Copperbelt region.
The railway line reached Broken hill in 1906 and set its base there where it’s still based today. The line goes further into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through the copperbelt province. Apart from being on the line of rail, the town lies on the Great North Road as well.
The town suffered an economic decline due to the closure of the mines. However, some industries survived the downturn including the pharmaceuticals, cotton ginning, milling and tanning industries.
In addition, the town has nine banks, Kabwe General Hospital and Mine Hospital. You will also find Mulungushi University, Kwame Nkrumah University, Paglory University, Chainama College of Health Sciences and National Fire Training School.
The other industry of notable importance was the Mulungushi Textile which had lain dormant for the past 9 years due to operational challenges. The Government finally took it over from Muhammad Enterprise. The company was officially opened on 1st August 2016 by President Edgar Lungu. The plant is now manufacturing among other things, various garments including military and police uniforms.
Due to the town’s proximity to the ready markets and the availability of transport, commercial farming thrives in the surrounding areas of the town.
This is the main hotel in town. Situated right within town, on the southern part, the Tuskers Hotel has 35 well-kept rooms each with a TV. It’s located on the corner of Buntungwa Street and Freedom way.Phone: 05 222076/7
The Horizon offers the basics in accommodation facilities but on the cheaper side. It’s found on the corner of Independence Avenue and Buntungwa Street.
Phone: 02 223398
The lodge is a comfortable option for a stopover on your way to the copper belt or Lusaka. All the 14 rooms have en suite bathrooms, with Satellite TV. The restaurant has grill and Ala Carte and a set menu. You can quench your thirst in the Cocktail bar. The lodge also provides facilities for conferences and meetings.
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