LUSAKA (Reuters) – Glencore will invest over $1.1 billion in Zambia to sink three copper mine shafts with new technology that will extend mine life by over 25 years, pushing the kwacha to its highest in two months.
By 1040 GMT the currency of Africa’s number 2 copper producer had gained 1.3 percent to 11.1100 per dollar, its firmest level since Jan. 19.
“The news from Glencore obviously sent a positive signal but overall we are seeing a lot of dollar supply with very little demand,” analyst Maambo Hamaundu said.
Glencore plans to make the investments between now and 2018 and it was expected that Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) would be turned into a world-class mining operation by 2023, it said.
“We firmly believe that we shall be able to overcome the challenges that we face today as a company and become profitable and operationally efficient,” Mopani said in a statement.
Glencore was fully committed to Mopani and had invested over $3 billion in upgrading infrastructure and in major capital expansion programmes since 2000, Mopani said.
An electricity shortage in the southern African country and weaker copper prices have put pressure on Zambia’s mining industry, threatening output, jobs and economic growth.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Susan Thomas)