Vedanta's Zambian arm to set up new processing plants

LUSAKA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – London-listed Vedanta Resources said on Thursday its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) plans to set up a new copper smelter, cobalt refinery and other infrastructure under a $1 billion investment programme announced earlier.

In March Vedanta announced the $1 billion investment after a meeting between its Chairman Anil Agrawal and Zambian President Edgar Lungu.

Vedanta aims to build a new copper refinery, at Nchanga, in Chingola, a cobalt processing plant and a training academy at Konkola and invest in de-watering the Konkola mine.

"We are firmly behind KCM’s medium-term target of raising total annual finished copper production to 400,000 tonne per annum," Chief Executive Kuldip Kaura said.

The company had previously predicted that the investment would create 7,000 jobs but has now raised the estimate to 12,000 jobs.

It holds a majority stake in KCM and has said the mine could produce copper for another 50 years.

KCM produced 180,000 tonnes of finished copper in the last financial year ended March 31, compared with 182,000 tonnes the previous year, according to company data.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Greg Mahlich)