Zambia's Chinese-owned Chambishi smelter plans to double its processing capacity for blister copper to 300,000 tons in 2010 due to higher demand from mining firms wanting to use the facility, Yunnan Copper said on Wednesday.
"We plan to double production to at least 300,000 tons of blister copper next year. To do that we will have to expand the plant," said Gong Xuchun, who is in charge of the organization department of Yunnan Copper.
"The copper smelter is a major step towards the sort of economic progress that my government anticipates within the zone," Gong said on Wednesday.
Gong says smelter capacity in Zambia, Africa's largest copper producer, falls short of demand for processing copper concentrate into blister copper.
Foreign mining companies including Kansanshi mine, a unit of First Quantum Minerals, and Chibuluma mine, owned by South Africa's Metorex, recently joined Equinox Minerals' Lumwana mine in using the Chambishi smelter for processing copper concentrate.
Chambishi, a joint venture of China Non-ferrous Metals Corporation (CNMC) and Yunnan Copper Industry (YNCIG), was initially treating copper from NFC Africa, another unit of the CNMC.
The Chambishi smelter is located in an economic zone, where Zambian authorities are waiving taxes such as a 25 percent import duty, 16.5 percent value added tax and 30 percent corporate tax to attract investments from China in the Chambishi zone, about 370 km north of Lusaka.