Copper coming off
the line at the
Sable processing
facility in Zambia
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 January 2011 – Rising copper production as global demand for the metal surged, played a major role in helping the Zambian economy grow by 7.1% in 2010.

Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer and the provisional economic growth estimate for 2010 was well above the economy’s 6.4% expansion in 2009.

“This growth is driven mainly by increased output in mining and quarrying, as well as transport and communications, construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing, and the wholesale and retail trade,” the statistics office said in a statement issued here.

In October, Zambian finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane forecast economic growth of 6.6% for 2010 and 6.4% for 2011. Zambia is one of the better-performing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, which the IMF forecasts will average 5% economic growth across the region this year. It has averaged 5% annual growth over the last six years, driven mainly by a rebound in copper production, which had declined for nearly three decades until 2004.

Zambia aims to double the contribution of mining to gross domestic product by 2015 by passing new legislation to attract foreign direct investment in the sector.

Member of the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) Chibamba Kanyama said that high copper prices “’ which had gained nearly 30% in 2010 on surging demand from China and other emerging economies “’ had had a significant impact on national income and investment in mining in Zambia. “Because of the rising output, the contribution of mining to GDP has also been increasing,” Kanyama added.