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Zambia Approves First Quantum $640 Million Smelter Project

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency approved First Quantum Minerals Ltd.’s planned $640 million copper project in the southern African nation.

The smelter at Kansanshi, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the country’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, has a potential lifespan of 20 years and will have capacity to produce 300,000 metric tons annually, the Lusaka-based regulator said in an e-mailed statement today.

The Vancouver-based company “shall put in place effective monitoring for dust, sulfur dioxide and other air pollutants immediately following the approval of the project,” said ZEMA, as the agency is known.

The smelter at Kansanshi forms part of First Quantum’s plans to triple its copper production capacity to 900,000 tons per year by about 2016, making it one of the top 10 producers of the metal, according to a presentation posted to the company’s website. First Quantum plans to commission the smelter in the second half of 2014. Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer.

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