BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
RUDRA Copper Limited, a company on the Copperbelt in Chingola, is set to invest US$41 million in the processing of copper from the slag commonly known as the ‘Black Mountain’ into Copper and cobalt.
Rudra Copper Limited intends to establish a fully integrated copper industry with little or no waste as the by product will be transformed into pavers and other construction related materials.
The company has so far invested over US$10 million whilst the remaining US$31 million will be invested over a period of three years.
Company Managing Director, Siddharth Patel, said they would also be sourcing the slag from mining companies across the country as well as local small scale miners known as ‘Jerabos’.
Mr Patel explained that this would create ready market for the small scale miners whilst maintaining steady flow of copper concentrate to the mining companies.
This came to light when the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) team led by the Board Chairman, Fisho Mwale, went for a familiarisation tour of the company in Chingola recently.
“The company will further be diversifying by investing into avocado production through an out grower scheme due to an increased demand for avocado oil on international markets,” Mr Patel said.
In response, Mr Mwale said the company had employed 50 Zambians in the initial phase and is looking to employ over 200 people in the next six months when the company becomes fully operational.
Mr Mwale said some of the people employed were ex-miners as the company looked to transfer skills and technology to locals.
“There is need for the company to prioritise local business development through local partnerships, business linkages and domesticated supply chain systems to further augment their local job creation strategies,” he said.
He commended the company for their investment which would create sustainable jobs on the Copperbelt.
The investment, Mr Mwale said, would catalyse the formalisation of a small scale miners with the view of encouraging them to further diversify once the slag dotted across the province is exhausted.
He further encouraged local suppliers and small scale miners to formalise their business to enable them tap into this business opportunity.