August 31, 2009 / 2:55 PM / 10 years ago

Zambia's KCM to shut Nchanga smelter for maintenance

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Zambia’s largest copper producer and majority owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources, will shut its Nchanga smelter for three weeks for maintenance, KCM said on Monday.

KCM said it would shut the smelter on Tuesday to replace the worn-out refractory bricks at the unit, with an annual capacity of 300,000 tonnes.

“This is a scheduled shutdown and we expect to be back in operation after three weeks to begin a proper ramp-up in production,” KCM said in a statement.

The $400-million smelter, which began to operate last November, has suffered two breakdowns since December 2008.

KCM, which operates the Konkola and Nchanga copper mines, the satellite Fitwaola mine and the Nampundwe pyrite mine, is planning to raise its total copper output in Zambia to 500,000 tonnes per year by 2011.

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