Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 September 2008 – Production of cathode copper in Zambia rose 14.38% to 332 531 tonnes between January and July 2008, compared with output for the same period last year.
Reporting from the Zambian capital, Reuters quoted the Bank of Zambia as adding that the country had exported 315 992 tonnes of copper for the seven months to July, after exporting 265 803 tonnes in the same period last year.
The bank also revealed that cobalt production for the same period fell slightly to 2 655 tonnes, compared to 2 673 tonnes in the corresponding period in 2007. But cobalt exports rose to 2 716 tonnes this year from 2 642 tonnes in the same period in 2007.
Reuters reports that copper industry analysts have said fluctuations in production and export figures are due mainly to stockpiling by the copper mines and consumer demand.
Zambia plans to lift its copper output to 600 000 tonnes by this December from 535 000 tonnes last year. The government has also forecast that copper production will peak at 1.0 million tonnes by 2010 after new mines begin production.
Treasury data indicated that the foreign copper and cobalt mines have invested more than US$3 billion (R24 billion) in the Zambian mining sector – the economic lifeblood of the country since the early 2000s. The copper mines are Zambia’s major employer and earn the country the bulk of its foreign exchange.