Berkeley Mineral Resources (LON:BMR) shares rose 8% after it revealed that copper processing is now underway in northern Zambia.
It comes after the company said it secured the industrial zone site at Ndola needed to carry out the processing pilot programme.
The site is located within a kilometre of the tailings at the Bwana Mkubwa mine and provides direct road connections to all the copper tailings in the Ndola area owned by the company and its joint venture partners.
Berkeley has started operations within its joint venture arrangements with the Bwana Mkubwa consortium.
The five artisanal licences have been turned into a formal small scale licence, which Berkeley said allows the tailings to be processed immediately.
The plant for the pilot programme is being designed to produce 150 tonnes a month of high grade copper cathodes.
The company also revealed that Johann Steynberg, a leading South African consultant, has joined the team.
Berkeley chairman Masoud Alikhani said: “We are pleased to see the copper processing programme under way now that the site has been secured and are delighted that Johann Steynberg, an acknowledged authority on copper plant design and processing, will be leading the metallurgical studies in developing BMR's copper projects in Northern Zambia.”