Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) will invest $100m in the development of a new mine shaft to access unexploited ore resources and enhance mine life by 25 years.

Zambian mines minister Maxwell Mwale said the project will help the company access 100 million tonnes of copper bearing ore present underneath the Nkana south ore body and the Kitwe central shaft ore body in Zambia, according to Reuters.

“The ore bodies being mined are nearing their end and the existing shaft infrastructure cannot go deeper for them to access the rich ore body,” Mwale said.

Mine Workers Union of Zambia president Rayford Mbulu said the union is aware that work on the new shaft will commence this year.

“Apart from the new shaft, they are also planning to start building an open pit mine starting this year and this mine will have a lifespan of about 18 to 20 years,” Mbulu said.

The open pit mine would be developed at an old mining site in Zambia known as the Mindolo ore body, which is operated by MCM.