Mopani Mine is planning an 18 months shutdown to undertake an expansion and upgrade programme, Deputy Minister of Mines Richard Musukwa has disclosed.
Mr Musukwa said other mines were also implementing measures to reduce production costs following the slump in copper prices.
Mr Musukwa said in the light of falling copper prices the mines had come under pressure to reduce production costs.
He however, said that government was discussing with various mine houses to ensure that the law was not broken by taking advantage of the situation to unnecessarily retrench workers.
Mr Musukwa said the difficulties being experienced in the mining sector were not unique to Zambia, adding that many other countries were going through similar experiences.
“I want to assure the house that government is doing all it can to safeguard the mining industry while at the same time facilitating the development of green fields,” he said.
Mr Musukwa said government remained open to running and operating the mining industry through private investors and called for transparency and accountability.
“Government continues to promote a stable and reliable fiscal regime which must be simple, consistent and above all predictable by ensuring that at all times government will endeavour to consult stakeholders such as the Zambia Chamber of Mines, Civil Society and Zambians at large to create a win-win situation,” he said.
Mr Musukwa said in the process of consultation the role of government was to maximise the benefit of the Zambians.
Meanwhile, Mr Musukwa said government was working on measures to improve production and marketing of gemstone starting with emeralds to increase their contribution to government revenue and economic growth.
He said the measures included redefining the sizes of mine plots to attract investment and enhancing monitoring of the sector.
Mr Musukwa also informed the House that total Copper production for the year 2015 may exceed that of 2014 but would be less than the projected figure of over a million tonnes.
Mr Musukwa attributed the increase to the commencement of production at Kalumbila and increase in production at Lumwana, Mopani and Luanshya Copper Mines.
He said the copper production of 467, 380. 90 tonnes as at the end of August 2015 was 2.8 per cent more than what was recorded in the corresponding period in 2014.