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FQM Announces Progress on US$1.25 Billion Kansanshi S3 Expansion in Zambia

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Ltd, a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc has reaffirmed its dedication to the ambitious ‘S3 Expansion’ project at the Kansanshi mine near Solwezi, North-Western Province. 

The announcement is part of the 2023 Preliminary Production and 2024-2026 guidance issued on Monday which underscores the company’s commitment to advancing its operations.

Back in May 2022, FQM made headlines by injecting a substantial US$1.25 billion into the Kansanshi mine, marking the largest investment in Zambia’s mining sector in recent years. The ‘S3 Expansion’ initiative involves enlarging the pit and the mining fleet, accompanied by a new processing plant. 

Additionally, a US$115 million investment will expand Kansanshi’s cutting-edge smelter, aligning with Zambia’s national objective of value addition to minerals within the country.

The comprehensive project, slated for completion in mid-2025, aims to restore the mine to its former peak production levels, ensuring its operational viability until the 2040s. 

Beyond the economic boost, the expansion is anticipated to create approximately 800 permanent jobs, with an additional 1,800 jobs during the construction phase.

In a parallel development, First Quantum’s commitment to completing the Enterprise nickel mine, situated near Kalumbila, has come to fruition. The mine, now operational, is poised to become one of the top-10 global nickel mines. 

With an annual production capacity of around 30,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate, the Enterprise mine is set to employ approximately 700 full-time staff, solidifying Zambia’s position as Africa’s leading nickel producer. 

Notably, the mine is dedicated to producing ‘green’ nickel, adhering to eco-friendly practices through a 100% renewable power supply agreement with ZESCO.

FQM is extending its impact beyond mining, venturing into renewable energy initiatives. Collaborating with other investors, the company is exploring private sector-led projects, including a TotalEnergies-led solar and wind renewable energy endeavor valued at over US$500 million. 

If realized, the project, expected to be commissioned in 2027, would significantly bolster Zambia’s energy capacity, contributing 15% to the current national capacity.

The commitment extends to the development of the Kalumbila Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ), approved by the government in September 2022. 

First Quantum is actively encouraging its suppliers to establish manufacturing facilities within the Zone, fostering a local mining supply economy, creating jobs, and driving opportunities in the area.

Commenting on the 2024-2026 guidance announcement, Rudi Badenhorst, Chief Operating Officer of First Quantum Minerals Ltd, emphasized the pivotal role of Zambia in the company’s future plans. 

He stated, “We are proud of our near three-decade history in Zambia, and we look forward to a bright future ahead.” 

With initiatives like Enterprise and the Kansanshi S3 Expansion, First Quantum is positioning North-Western Province to benefit significantly, not only economically but also through social development and environmental initiatives well into the next decade.

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