Zambian President Edgar Lungu (C) cuts the ribbon during the Production Commencement Ceremony of the South East Ore Body (SEOB), Nonferrous China Africa (NFCA) in Zambia's Chambishi town on Aug. 22, 2018. Chinese mining firm NFCA on Wednesday launched production work for its greenfield project in Chambishi town on the Copperbelt Province with Zambian President Edgar Lungu hailing it as an example of serious investment. (Xinhua/Vincent Chen)
CHAMBISHI, Zambia, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese mining firm Nonferrous China Africa (NFCA) on Wednesday launched production work for its greenfield project in Chambishi town on the Copperbelt Province with Zambian President Edgar Lungu hailing it as an example of serious investment.
The South East Ore Body is the latest project of the Chinese firm since its acquisition of Chambishi Mine 20 years ago. About 870 million U.S. dollars has been invested in the new project.
"This project is an affirmation of the seriousness that Nonferrous China Africa attaches to investing in our country. It is also a signal that Zambia's investment climate is conducive for the mining industry," the Zambian leader said at the commissioning of the project.
The Zambian leader commended the Chinese firm for its resilience in ensuring that the project comes to fruition despite the country going through turmoil following depressed copper prices on the international market and an energy crisis the country faced.
The coming on board of South East Ore Body will make up for the decline in production in other operations due to depletion of resources or other challenges being faced, he added.
The commencement of mining, he said, was significant to the local people in the town as the new project was expected to boost the mine's life span by about 24 years, adding that the extension of operations implies more business opportunities for the local people.
He further commended the Chinese firm for reviving mining operations in the town following its acquisition of Chambeshi Mine which had been on care and maintenance.
Li Jie, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, said the development of the new project was significant not only for the mining firm but the country's mining industry as well as practical cooperation between the two countries.
The Chinese envoy said the firm has invested 1.17 billion U.S. dollars since resumption of operations of Chambishi Mine, adding that the new project was the third body built by the firm.
He further said Zambia was now being considered as a conducive environment destination in Africa for Chinese enterprises because of its stable political situation, among other things.
Wang Tongzhou, Chairman of China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group), the parent company, said Zambia was the most critical area for its overseas investment.
The firm, he said, has 14 subsidiaries in the southern African nation which have invested in three mines, three smelters and an economic facility zone.
He further commended the Zambian government for its unwavering support to the company's investment in the last 20 years, adding that more than 5, 000 jobs will be created at the new project.
According to him, the China-Zambia cooperation was an ongoing process which will never stop and that the forthcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit next month will open a new chapter for closer ties.