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Improved prospects for Zambian mining sector

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Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 02 October 2009 – The government of Zambia says the future of the country’s mining industry is becoming brighter, following the rise in copper prices.

Responding to a question in parliament here, mines and mineral development minister Maxwell Mwale said there was no doubt that the steady improvement in the metal’s prices since last year’s dramatic slump in the wake of the global economic crisis, had improved the prospects for the country’s mining sector.

Mines and mineral development deputy minister, Boniface Nkhata “’ also responding to a question in parliament “’ revealed that four of Zambia’s main copper producers had shown a combined output of almost 90 000 t of copper concentrate and just under 105 000 t of copper cathodes in the first half of 2009.

He said that Konkola Copper Mines and Chambishi Copper mines had produced 74 930 t and 13 791 t of concentrates respectively, while  Mopani Copper Mines and Lumwana Mining Company achieved outputs of 54 814 t and 50 000 t of copper cathodes respectively.

Konkola was expecting a profit of US$190 million (R1.5 billion) in 2009, while Mopani was anticipating a loss of about US$32 million (R250 million)

Minister Mwala added that, now that the copper prices were rising, the Zambian government would engage mining investors in discussions with a view to re-engaging workers who had been retrenched. KCM and Mopani have retrenched a combined total of more than 3 200 workers this year.