Monday, November 3, 2008

First Quantum May Use Zambia's Fishtie as Source for Mkubwa

By Nasreen Seria - Oct. 30 (Bloomberg)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is evaluating the Fishtie mine in Kashime, Zambia, as a potential source of copper ore for processing at its Bwana Mkubwa mine, which suspended operations last week.

The company is completing an environmental assessment of Fishtie, which will be given to the Zambian government for approval, Vancouver-based First Quantum said in a notice published in Zambia's Post newspaper today.

``The uncertainty in the international financial markets, coupled with the unclear fiscal and legislative regimes within Zambia, will be considered in forming an opinion on the viability of this project,'' First Quantum said.

Copper processing at the Bwana Mkubwa mine was suspended earlier this month because of a shortage of raw materials. The main source for Bwana Mkubwa was ore from the Lonshi mine in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where exports have been halted since November 2007 after the border between the two countries was closed. The Bwana Mkubwa mine has ``exhausted all known sources'' of viable ore within Zambia, First Quantum said.

The company will begin firing some workers because of the temporary closure of Bwana Mkubwa, it added.

Zambians are voting for a new president today that may result in opposition leader Michael SataRupiah Banda. Sata told a campaign rally on Oct. 15 he will force foreign-owned companies to give 25 percent stakes in their operations to local investors if he was elected president, Agence France-Presse said. defeating ruling party candidate