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AFRICA Consolidated Resources (ACR), the firm prospecting for phosphates at Nkombwa mines in Isoka, have attributed the delays to fully operationalise the mine to the long process involved in testing the minerals.

ACR Operations Manager Haward Chike said the mining firm was on course and was still undertaking a series of tests as the process demanded before mining could start.

“The delayed activities at Nkombwa mines is just part of the  process, so far we have started the process, we collected the samples which we are testing and when you test there is need for financing the next activity.

There are a series of things that need to be done so the next phase is still coming,’’ Mr Chike said

He said the exploration licence runs up to 2020, therefore, the mining firm was on course to start the operations once the final testing and other formalities are completed.

“The chemistry at Nkombwa mine is not as simple as people think and perceive.

You know that phosphates need double testing, so we tested in South Africa and now we need to carry out another test here in Zambia at the University of Zambia.

After those test results only then can we ascertain what to put in the mine, you see we cannot risk our money just like that because the next stage is mining,” he said.

He said the Ministry of Mines gave ACR a 10-years exploration licence because it understood what was involved in phosphates mining.

And Mr Chike dispelled rumours that ACR had sold the Nkombwa mines to an Austria based mining company.

“Our licences run up to 2020 and we are custodians and we are there as fishermen mining and there is no one who can come and change that without the involvement of the Ministry of Mines so there is no selling of the mine, therefore, those are just allegations, ’ Mr Chike said.

Meanwhile, Muchinga Province Minister Malozo Sichone recently expressed concern about stalled mining activities and wanted Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cranswick  to travel to Muchinga .

Mr Sichone said he had observed with dissatisfaction that works at Nkombwa mines had stalled for more than 18 months.

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