Monday, November 3, 2008

Metals Finance Corp. plans Zambia cobalt recovery

LUSAKA (Reuters)

Metals Finance Corp. and Zambia's largest cobalt producer, Chambishi Metals Plc, are planning a joint venture for a facility to process cobalt and copper from a disused tailings damp, the Post newspaper reported on Friday.

"Resource development company, Metals Finance Corporation, has reached an agreement to help it determine whether it should establish a copper and cobalt recovery facility," the paper said.

It said Metals Finance Corp., which specialises in financing and providing technical skills to recover copper and cobalt from waste mining materials, and Chambishi Metals would conduct a nine-month-long feasibility study for the project.

"Once the plant is operational, Metals Finance will receive 90 percent of operating surplus until all capital is repaid. After repayment of capital, Metals Finance will receive 50 percent of the operating surplus for the remaining life of the operation," the Post added.

Officials from both companies were not immediately reachable for comment.

Copper and cobalt mining is Zambia's economic lifeblood and the vast copper and cobalt mines are a major employer in this southern African country of 12 million people.

Chambishi, a joint venture between International Metals Resources and Beni Stein Group Resources, is the largest cobalt producer in Zambia. Its output for 2007 was estimated at 4,000 tonnes of cobalt, up from about 3,400 tonnes in 2006.