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Avmin's write down was blamed on technical problems and a weaker cobalt price and came just days after Anglo American called it quits on its troubled Zambian copper mining properties.
In September 1998, Avmin signed a development agreement with ZCCM and the Zambian Government, which gave Avmin the rights to own and operate the existing Chambishi copper and cobalt toll treatment plant as well as the Nkana slag dump.
Kvaerner acted as managing con tractor for Avmin's Cosac project in Zambia, a new $100 million cobalt-from-slag metallurgical treatment facility constructed alongside the existing Chambishi Metals plant.
The Chambishi assets were purchased for $50m with Avmin owning 90% of the new company, Chambishi Metals Plc, and ZCCM retaining a 10% interest.
Initially, Kafue Consortium - comprising Phelps Dogdge of United States, Noranda Mining of Canada, Avmin of South Africa, and Commonwealth Development Corporation of the United Kingdom - won the bid to buy the two mines.
Further drilling at the Kaungashi deposits should increase the oxide resources and test the sulphide zones, Avmin has signed a joint venture option agreement on Lunga and can earn up to 80% in the project through exploration expenditure.
While this is yet to be completely finalised, sources close to the negotiations intimated that a cash up-front payment of $250m had been agreed upon between ZCCM and the Kafue Consortium, a group of investors led by South Africa's Avmin and including Canada's Noranda, the USA's Phelps Dodge, and the UK's Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC).
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