April 15, 2009 / 1:57 PM / 10 years ago

Zambia discovers more copper in north of country

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia, already Africa’s top copper producer, has found more deposits in its north and will invite foreign firms to conduct further feasibility studies prior to mining, a minister said on Wednesday.

Mines and Minerals Development Minister Maxwell Mwale said more copper and manganese had been discovered in Luapula province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the government had already issued some licences for the mining of manganese.

Mwale said the Japanese International Corporation Agency (Jica) had financed geological mapping of areas with copper and the process had been extended to the nearby Northern Province.

“We are trying to impress as many mining companies (as possible) to invest in Luapula province. We have huge resources and the prospects of mining are very bright,” Mwale said.

Mwale said Zambia planned to geologically map 45 percent of the country where there was mineral wealth in order to invite more investors into mining.

“The potential (for more discoveries) of minerals is very high. We also have cobalt, which is currently not tapped,” Mwale said.

Copper mining is the economic lifeblood of this southern African country of 12 million people, where authorities say copper production will rise to over 600,000 tonnes this year from 569,887 tonnes in 2008.

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