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Equinox closer to starting Africa’s biggest copper mine

Aspiring Perth copper producer Equinox Minerals Ltd has added another $40.5 million to an earlier $170 million raising to pave the way for production from its $750 million Zambian copper project in late 2007/early 2008.
The company has entered a $40.5 million private placement agreement with the majority Zambian government owned ZCCM Investments Holdings plc to take two equal share packages by the end of March and June this year.
ZCCM is the 87 per cent owned subsidiary investment vehicle of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd, the Zambian government's national mining company.
Equinox chief executive officer Craig Williams told WA Business News the placement would give the Zambian government a five to 10 per cent stake in Equinox.
Earlier this year, the company raised $170 million via prospectus issues in Canada and Australia, about 80 per cent of it coming via the Toronto stock exchange.
Mr Williams said he expected to have all the financial commitments completed by the middle of this year, with construction beginning very soon after.
Initial production over the first five years has been projected at 415 million pounds of copper a year, reducing to an average 330Mlb/year over the current 18 year mine life.
The lower average production rate equates to copper production worth about $772 million a year, with costs, not including such things as cost of finance and tax, at about 96c/lb (US70c/lb). That puts Equinox around the middle of the pack in terms of world copper production costs.
Equinox' share price has risen from around 90c at the end of last year to $1.65.

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