Zambia‘s Mopani Copper Mine Deal Expected to Close Soon

In a declaration on the sidelines of the Africa Mining Indaba (#AMI2023) on 6 February 2023, Zambian Minister of Mines Paul Kabuswe indicated that the Mopani Mines deal is expected to close by end of 1Q23. He revealed that 10 companies have expressed interest in the mine and smelter complex.

Given the strong interest, he is confident that asset currently owned by the State Mining Investment firm ZCCM-IH will find an appropriate suitor to inject the needed capital and know-how to modernize the plant.

“There is interest from all over world. Zambia does not differentiate between investors provided they bring value into the country. We are dealing with the Arab world, we are dealing with the US, we are dealing with China; we are not biased towards anyone. We are friendly to everybody.”

Zambia Minister of Mines Paul Kabuswe

The Zambian government is currently also negotiating with Vedanta Resources over Konkola Copper Mines. Last year, both parties agreed to an out-of-court settlement after a lengthy legal battle. Minister Kabuswe appeared optimistic as to a reaching a deal soon.

Faced with a crushing debt burden, Zambia is pinning its hope on the mining sector to replenish its coffers. It has a target to bump up production of copper to at least 3 million tonnes annually by 2030. It is worth recalling that Zambia was the first African country to default on debt following the COVID pandemic.

Being a landlocked country, development in mining is expected to bring positive benefits to transport and logistics infrastructure as well. As extraction and smelting operations ramp up, the demand for electricity, road, rail will be acutely felt and thus great opportunities will arise in infrastructure development.

In December 2022, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema delivered a captivating speech around “Green Mining Deal” during the US-Africa Leaders Summit. This year’s Mining Indaba has also scheduled a “Green Metals Session” which ran over two days. The discussions covered battery metals, local value addition (#LVA) and #SustainableMining in order to contribute to the fight against #ClimateChange.