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World Bank to Support Zambian Review of Copper Industry


John Wilson        
Phone:  (202) 473-9196        

Fax:  (202) 974 4323        

E-mail:  jwilson@ifc.org

       
Ludi Joseph

Phone:  (202) 473-7700

Fax:  (202) 974-4384

E-mail:  ljoseph@ifc.org


Washington, January 25, 2002—The World Bank has expressed deep concern over the decision by Anglo American Plc, the majority shareholder in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), to reconsider its involvement in the company.  The decision was contained in a statement issued by ZCI (Zambia Copper Investments), an Anglo-American-owned company, saying it was considering several options including the sale, transfer of assets, or closure of KCM in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

The Bank has begun discussions on this matter with the Zambian authorities in Lusaka and is dispatching a high-level team of experts to work with the government in reviewing the options.  “Our objective is to ensure that the choices made would be best for the Zambian people and to establish a sound basis for the mining sector over the medium-term,” said Mr. Callisto Madavo, the Bank’s Vice President for Africa.  


The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank Group, will also step up efforts to explore various options for the future of KCM and Zambia’s copper industry.  ”Our focus now is on the future, on evaluating the options for KCM, and on minimizing the impact on Zambia's economic development, the workers, and their families,” said Mr. Peter Woicke, IFC Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the World Bank Group for private sector development activities.  ”The World Bank Group will work closely to help Zambia through this difficult time.”  He added that the recent global economic slowdown, the current low copper prices, and some unexpected operational difficulties had negatively impacted KCM's profitability and prospects.


KCM—in which IFC has a 7.5 percent stake—was created two years ago by the privatization of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM).