Chinese investors and Indian firms have expressed interest in taking over Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) after the company halted operations in December, state news media reported on Monday.

LCM, which operates the Baluba copper mine and Chambishi Metals Plc, Zambia's largest cobalt producer, cited difficulties arising from the global financial crisis as the reason for the halt.

The country's president, Rupiah Banda, said the government was in talks with LCM to chart a way forward and had received expressions of interest from Chinese and Indian firms to operate the troubled mine.

The Chinese and the Indians are the (only) ones with money left to invest in Zambian mines. They have shown interest in coming to invest in this industry, Banda told journalists.

We are having talks with them (LCM management) to ensure that the whole thing is not a mess, Banda added.

Copper is Zambia's biggest export and the mines, a major employer, are struggling with a fall in global metal prices.

LCM is a joint venture of International Mineral Resources and Bein Stein Group Resources.

LCM had already suspended its new $354 million Mulyashi mine project while it reviewed its viability. (Reporting By Shapi Shacinda)

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