Canadian mining giant First Quantum Minerals has signed a deal with Zambia’s Mimosa Resources to advance the joint development of the Fishtie copper project in the African nation’s Central Province.

The venture, known as Kashime Copper, was first announced in 2012, as First Quantum eyed up the 500,000 tonnes (t) of copper present in the Fishtie deposit. Production is now expected to begin in 2026, ramping up to 30,000t of copper per year by the end of the decade.

Currently, Mimosa owns 37.5% of Kashime Copper, but the latest agreement will see Mimosa’s stake grow to 75% following the completion of a feasibility study and the raising of the necessary financing.

First Quantum will also conduct exploration within the wider licence area outside of Fishtie. A total investment of $200m will be needed for the project, for which Mimosa Resources will lead the fundraising.

The Zambian Government is pushing to attract western miners to the country, which for years has been considered a tenuous investment environment. In 2022, President Hakainde Hichilema said he wanted to triple copper output in the next decade, and tax policies have been reviewed to attract foreign capital.

First Quantum Minerals country manager, Godwin Beene, said: “We are determined that this resource should be developed now that the investment climate in Zambia has improved.”

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By GlobalData

The Canadian company has lost a large portion of its copper output due to the closure of its flagship copper mine in Panama following weeks of protests against its operations. The Cobre Panama mine produced around 1.5% of global copper supply in 2022 and was responsible for around 40% of First Quantum’s revenue.

In Zambia, First Quantum is also involved in the Kansanshi mine and smelter in Solwezi and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila. According to GlobalData, the parent company of Mining Technology, Zambia was the second-largest producer of copper in Africa in 2022.