By Joseph Banda.
China Non-ferrous Mining Corporation (CNMC) has pledged US$1.3 billion investment for the next five years to cater for its various operations in mining, science and education technology.
CNMC group chairperson Xi Zhengping yesterday told President Hakainde Hichilema that by the end of 2025, half of the US$1.3 billion investment would have been completed and the Chambeshi Copper Mines would also receive US$450 million.
He said there were plans to reopen shaft 28 at the Luanshya Copper Mine with an investment of US$600 million while about US$200 million would be invested in Sino Metals and a warehouse project.
Mr. Xi Zhengping who was on a three-day visit to Zambia said just like Zambians, his company had confidence in the Government to attract investment and improve the people’s lives. He said his company was also ready to assist Zambia in mineral explorations and greenfields using its expertise in geological explorations.
“Zambia is also endowed with other mineral resources such as lithium, manganese, zinc and other resources, so we are willing to do more work on this as well,” he said.
He said his company had also undertaken a study on value addition in Zambia and was looking at setting up a copper cable manufacturing plant and also looking at supply of auxiliary material and logistic support. He said there were also plans to utilise hydro-power for further production to work on Electric Vehicles (EV) batteries using materials in Zambia.
Mr. Zhengping added that there were agreements between Zambia and China to come up with industrial supply chains which would attract more Chinses businesses to Zambia. He promised that every year his company would hold an investment seminar for Zambia and that he had come with a delegation to look at investment opportunities.
On technological transfer, he said the Luanshya Technical Vocation Training Institute was being expanded and by the end of 2025, a new campus would be built and was working with the Copperbelt University (CBU) on cobalt extraction to maximise its value.
In response, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said that he was happy that Mr. Zhengping and his delegation, accompanied by the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Mr. Du Xiaohui had come to Zambia as per their promise when he visited China recently.
The President said the long-standing relationship with China was being strengthened through specific areas of co-operation and that there was need to tie-up the check-list of issues that were agreed upon in China to make work easier.
He said the Chinese investment was welcome, especially on value addition and EV batteries to fit into the existing investment.
“As we agree, let us have a win-win situation with mutual benefits,” he said. The President said that most parts of the country were not mapped and mineral explorations not done although there had been finding of minerals without expertise. He also assured that the Government would look at issues of licensing so that it was not a hinderance to investment.