Thursday, 3 October 2013

Memories of Mufulira, 1974

It was good to catch up with my old friend Ian Townsend, of Outotec, at the recent Base Metals '13 conference in South Africa. We were reminiscing about our time on the Zambian Copperbelt in the early 1970s. I was at Chingola, Ian at Mufulira.

He showed me the photo below of the concentrator staff at Mufulira in 1974, and emailed to say:

"I am top row, second from the left, in the days when I had hair and was 30kg lighter.  On the far left is Martin Wright, next to me, now living in Cape Town.  Plant Superintendent centre bottom row was John Aird, with whom I have recently re-established contact.  He was heavily involved with initial development of the Chambishi Cobalt plant and was later involved with Kasese cobalt in Uganda.  We had half-shares in a 505 racing dinghy and spent a lot of time swimming!  Two places to the right on the other side of the lady is John Archer, who I still see occasionally and who is doing some consultancy from his home in Rutland (I think). There are others with whom I am still in contact such as John Newcombe and Andy Webster (2nd and 3rd from left on row below me). A couple of the Zambians were still working at Mufulira until very recently and we had good reunions on my return visits."

If anyone can fill in the missing gaps, we would very much like to hear from you. Ian will be in Africa again in November, attending Flotation '13 in Cape Town.


  1. Nice to see the photo. Would certainly like to renew contacts with John Archer and others. I left Muf in Sept 72, having crewed for Peter Ashcroft also ending up in the water which is why I and the Muf nurse who is now my wife ended up operating the "rescue launch" (quotes as I recall the prop shaft falling of and having to be towed back). Sad to hear the club house burnt down, also rescue crew at Chingola for karts and those backyard modifieds

  2. Nice photo. Brings back memories of my time in the Mufulira smelter and concentrator - 1975. Phil Plaisted


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