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Kitwe is the second largest city and one of the most developed commercial and industrial areas in Zambiamarker, with a population of 547,700 (2007 census). It is the hub of the Copperbelt, Zambia's copper-mining region, in the Provincemarkerof that name, with a complex of mines on its north-western and western edges.

Kitwe includes a number of townships and suburbs including Nkana East, Nkana West, Mindolo and Garneton. The city is sometimes referred to as Kitwe-Nkana. As well as the mines, the city has light industrial areas manufacturing building materials, furniture and consumer goods such as electrical appliances, electronics, computer oriented goods, hardware, software, game modules, spectacles, cosmetics, cellphones and jewelery.

Mopani Copper Mines

Nkana open pit and headgear,Kitwe

Mopani Copper Mines Plc (Mopani) is a joint venture company comprising Glencore International AG (73.1%), First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (16.9%) and Zambian Consolidated Copper Mines Limited (10%). Mopani operates the Mufulira mine, smelter and copper refinery and the Nkana mine and cobalt plant. MCM produced 134,800 t of copper and 2,040 t of cobalt in 2003. MCM is investing in a number of oxide copper projects at several of its properties, including an in-situ leaching project at Mufulira and heap leaching at Nkana, and has achieved significant production increases at its underground mining operations in Kitwe and Mufulira. Copper production from internal sources was supplemented by the purchase of some 18,000 t of copper in high- grade oxide concentrate bought from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The company aims to rebuild the Mufulira smelter during 2004 and 2005, and also plans to add a new gas collection facility and acid plant at a total cost of US$95 million.

There is extensive mine tailings around this mine.

KCM(Konkola Copper Mine)
Konkola Copper mine(KCM) is the largest copper mining company in the country and 15% of its facilities namely Nkana Refinery and Nkana Smelter(largest smelter in the nation) are located in Kitwe.The Nkana Smelter is the largest primary copper production plant in Zambia. The plant treats concentrates mainly from Nkana, Nchanga and Konkola mines which are wholly owned by KCM to produce up to 150000t of new copper.

Nkana Smelter

The smelter produces high grade anodes, which are electrolytically refined. Sulphur dioxide gas produced by the Converters is converted into sulphuric acid which is then used at the Tailings Leach Plant, Nchanga for recovering oxide copper. The smelter also produces discard slag from the reverbs that is rich in cobalt which is stored for future reclamation.

Nkana Refinery

The Nkana Copper Refinery produces electrolytically refined copper in the form of cathodes. The copper meets the LME premium quality grade. The tankhouse has a capacity of about 180000t of finished copper per annum.

Nkana Acid Plants

There are two single contact sulphuric acid plants at Smelterco, namely No. 3 and No.4 plants. No.3, the largest is still operational. The plant has a design capacity of 1050 t per day acid.

Rokana Mine
A mining company that owns mindola underground mine that mines minerals such as Carrolite,Chalcopyrite and Libethenite.

There is extensive mine tailings around this mine.See Copperbelt Provincemarker for the history of the copper-mining industry.

Other mining
There are two small tailings dams right in the city centre. There are also small-scale emerald mines in the area.


Kitwe lies at the end of Zambia Railways' passenger services from Livingstonemarker, Lusakamarker and Ndolamarker, but freight lines continue to the mining towns to the north-west. The main highway through the Copperbelt runs south-east to north-west through the city, to Ndolamarker (as a freeway) in the south-east, and to Nchanga, Chingolamarker and Chililabombwemarker in the north-west. A laterite road goes west to Kasempamarker.

Southdowns Airport, Kitwe lies about 12 km south-west of the town but does not currently receive scheduled services. The airport has an airport code called KIW, a world area code called 597, a runaway length 6660 ft(1998 m) and a runaway elevation of 4145 ft(1244 m).The airport was closed down for repair in 2005, and re-opened in 2008. Ndola Airportmarker is 60 km south-east.


A student and teacher exchange programme was introduced in 1999 with teacher exchange visits by Kingsmead Community Schoolmarker in Wiveliscombemarker, Englandmarker with two Kitwe schools - Helen Kaunda High School and Mukuba High School. This started a series of partnerships between Zambian and UK schools and there are now over 30 such school partnerships. Students from Kingsmead paid a visit to the Kitwe schools in 2005.Kitwe has a number of private shools,the five best ones being:

Lechwe School-one of the biggest schools in the city,an International school which provides pre-school, primary, secondary, advanced level teaching following a cambridge cirriculum.Lechwe school is a multi-cultural school hence there is not much religious teachings but a large number of subject options in secondary and advanced level schooling.The school is known for having a good disciplinary policy and a number of ECA(Extra Cirricular Activities) like chess, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, tennis, squash, rugby, hockey, football,cricket, athletics, swimming, softball, netball, handball, baseball, rounders, duke of edinburgh andmartial arts.Lechwe school is known for its students abilities like Ellen Hight, a swimmer, represented Zambia at the 2000 Summer Olympics and in July 2002 Andre and Ursula Kuenzli, swimmers, represented Zambia in the Commonwealth Games in England, Jade Howard, a swimmer, represented Zambia in the FINA World Championship, Eppa Tembo, a chess player, represented Zambia in 2008 World Championship and Sarang Mahajan, a mathematician, was invited in an Indian talent show Shabash India to show his maths abilities.

Features of Kitwe

Around Kitwe

Mindolo club, Kitwe
The landscape around Kitwe is an attractive mix of gently undulating woodland, dambos, farmland and rivers such as the Kafue Rivermarker flowing along Kitwe's eastern and southern edges.

  • Mwekwera Falls 9 km south east just off the Kitwe-Ndola freeway, with a small lake and fish farms. The falls are small but scenic with an attractive pool below.
  • Chembe Bird Sanctuary 20 km east on the Kasempa Road has a small lake surrounded by woodland and is excellent for birdwatching, fishing, camping and picnics. The shady lake shore has campsites with a communal amenities block, firewood, and water. Boats are available for hire and fishing is permitted. It is run by the Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia.

Sister cities

Kitwe's has four sister cities:

See also


  1. Camerapix: "Spectrum Guide to Zambia." Camerapix International Publishing, Nairobi, 1996.
  2. Google Earth accessed 2007.
  3. Seat61 website retrieved 2 June 2007, says information was correct in November 2006.
  4. Terracarta/International Travel Maps, Vancouver Canada: "Zambia, 2nd edition", 2000
  5. "Zambia/UK student partnerships fostering multi-cultural relations", Gethsemane Mwizabi, Times of Zambia, 2005

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