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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 18:19 GMT
Anglo commits to Africa
Copper mine
Criticism over Zambia has hurt Anglo America
Mining giant Anglo American says it is still committed to Africa and to finding new mines, despite pulling out of the Konkola copper mine in Zambia amid fierce criticism.

Anglo American and its associates have spent or committed some $4.5bn to investment in the African continent over the last five years

Bobby Danchin
Anglo American
"It does not impact on our exploration programme in that region, and any discoveries we might make would be assessed on their own merits," chief executive officer for exploration and acquisitions, Bobby Danchin, told an African mining conference in Cape Town.

The plan to sell, transfer or close the Konkola mines was described as a stand-alone decision based on low copper prices and lack of project financing.

Anglo's review of the Konkola mines threatens over 10,000 jobs and Zambia's main source of foreign exchange.

The company only took over the mines in March 2000, after years of negotiation with then President Frederick Chiluba.

The Zambian government has said it would take over the copper mines, which account for 67% of the country's annual copper production, and the World Bank has promised money to help.

Future exploration

Mr Danchin denied the company's relocation to London in 1999 and its restructuring "have been at the expense of South Africa and the African continent".

"Anglo American and its associates have spent or committed some $4.5bn to investment in the African continent over the last five years," he said.

Africa continued to receive the largest share of Anglo's exploration spending, even though its exploration budget had shrunk 31% to $42m in 2002.

Anglo spends 27% of its exploration budget in Africa.

Exploration spending by mining companies has been on the decline in recent years due to low commodity prices and consolidation in the industry.

See also:

25 Jan 02 | Business
Blow to Zambia copper industry
28 Jan 02 | Business
Anglo faces Zambia pressure
15 Feb 01 | Business
Anglo American bids for De Beers
02 Jan 02 | Business
Economic challenge for Zambia
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