June 16 (Bloomberg) -- First Quantum Minerals Ltd., which plans to build the $1 billion Trident copper mine in Zambia, expects regulators in the southern African country to approve its environmental impact study “soon,” a company official said.
A decision may come after the environmental authority completes a transition, Tristan Pascall, project coordinator at the company, said in an interview yesterday on the sidelines of a mining conference in Lusaka, the capital. Last year, Zambia’s government introduced legislation giving the regulator increased authority and changing its name to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency, or ZEMA, from the Environmental Council of Zambia, or ECZ.
“First Quantum feels confident that the transition from the old ECZ to the new ZEMA will occur in a timely manner so as not to impact on the development schedules of the pipeline of development projects currently being executed in Zambia,” Pascall said.
The Trident project involves the development of three open- pit mines, a smelter and an airstrip at Kalumbila, in Zambia’s so-called copperbelt, the richest source of the metal in the country, which is Africa’s largest producer. Trident may create 2,000 jobs, Chairman Philip Pascal said in April.
First Quantum, based in Vancouver, on May 28 told Zambia’s closely held Post newspaper it hadn’t started mining at Kalumbila because it hadn’t been given approval by the ECZ.
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