A Chinese firm has signed a $3.6 billion investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) with Zambia in copper exploration and mining industry, a senior investment official said on Wednesday.

Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Spokeswoman Margaret Chimanse said Zambia and Zhonghui Mining Group signed an investment agreement on Tuesday.

The $3.6 billion will be invested by Zhonghui in the first five years (from 2009) and it is likely to be increased depending on economic factors affecting the copper industry, said Chimanse.

The total number of jobs to be created directly by all the projects is 32,425. The project for copper refining will create 1,200 jobs, Chimanse said.

Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati signed on behalf of the Zambian government while Yaohui Wang Chairman of Zhongui mining group signed for his company.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Mr. Mutati said government will remain committed to attracting more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country.

He said Zambia should attract more Chinese investment as it has become the biggest investment globally especially in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States America.

Earlier, Zhonghui chairman Mr. Wang thanked government for approving the IPPA with his company.

He said the agreement will build more confidence for the company to continue to invest in Zambia.

Zambian authorities are waiving a 25 percent customs duty on imported equipment, 16.5 percent value added tax and several other taxes for Chinese companies investing in the Chambishi economic zone.