By NICHOLAS BARIYO
The Zambian government said it has approved the sale of at
least 49% of its sole oil refinery, as the copper producing
nation seeks an investment partner to recapitalize the aging
Zambia Development Agency, the state investment body, is in
talks with a number of parties interested in investing in the
Indeni Petroleum Refinery
, which supplies fuel
products to the country's vast copper and cobalt mines, the
energy and mines minister, Christopher Yaluma, said in a
statement. Mr. Yaluma didn't say who the interested companies
Zambia imports nearly all its crude from the Middle East, but
the landlocked nation wants to lower its energy costs by
sourcing crude from neighboring Angola. Government officials
say the refinery
requires urgent upgrade
works to enable it to refine crude from Angola.
"Cabinet has approved the letting go of 49% shares in Indeni
to a private investor to boost funding," Mr. Yaluma said,
adding the government is also looking for at least $410
million to build a new refinery to ensure stable fuel supply.
The bulk of the country's fuel products are supplied to
copper mines in the Copperbelt and North Western provinces.
The 24,000 barrels a day refinery, located in Copperbelt
province, has broken down several times in the past couple of
years, plunging the southern African nation into a fuel
In 2009, the Zambian government bought Total'S 50% stake in
to become its sole owner.
Indeni processes crude pumped through the 1,060-mile Tazama
pipeline from the Tanzanian port city of Dar Es Salaam.
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