Zambia producer Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has signed a contract with Brazilian firm U&M Mining to help it mine for copper at the Chingola open pit site.

U&M will mine two areas of the open pit for three years for waste and copper ore as it seeks to raise output to 500,000t from its current 200,000t level by 2011, Reuters reports.

The deal allows KCM to concentrate on its copper-producing Nchanga open pit mine as it plans to raise its cobalt production to 5,000t.

KCM, a unit of Vedanta Resources, is currently developing the $500m Konkola Deep Copper project, considered to be the deepest copper mine in Africa, Reuters said.