Banda urges mining safety
Chiliabobwe – Zambia's President Rupiah Banda on Thursday urged investors to ensure worker safety to avoid mining accidents similar to the one in Chile, where trapped miners have just been rescued.
"We all witnessed what happened in Chile, it was so touching to see the last person come out. We have to take care of our mines so that we do not go through what our brothers have gone through," said Banda.
Banda was speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony for the Konkola North Copper Mine, a joint venture project between Brazil's Vale and African Rainbow Mining (ARM) from South Africa.
Vale is one of the world's largest iron ore miners, with interests in Mozambique, Angola, Venezuela and Australia, while ARM is mining a range of resources including platinum and coal.
The investors said that they would pump $400m into the project and a further $1bn once the mine is fully operational.
"We plan to invest $1bn in the next three to five years. We are doing business differently and we think we are doing a right thing in Zambia," said Patrice Motsepe, the executive chairperson of ARM.
Motsepe said Zambia had abundant mineral resources and many countries were willing to invest in the country because of its favourable investment climate.
Copper is Zambia's top export earner, with Chinese firms already involved in several mining projects.