HomeBase MetalsZambian copper output rises

Zambian copper output rises

Sag and ball mills
under construction at
the Lumwana mine
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 June 2009 – Zambian copper production in the four months to the end of April 2009 – boosted by higher prices and the launch of a new mine – rose by 13.5% to 218 101 tonnes, compared with 192 064 tonnes in the same period last year.

Revealing this information here, the Bank of Zambia said copper exports during the four months had risen to 211708 tonnes from 186 894 tonnes last year – an increase of more than 13%.

The Chamber of Mines of Zambia (CMZ) said production was rising because of a ramp-up in output by several mines, after copper prices had started to recover from lows reached last year on the back of the global economic slowdown.

“Production has also been boosted by the launch of the Lumwana copper mine, expected to produce up to 170 000 tonnes of copper this year, said CMZ president Nathan Chishimba.

“It is evident that some mines have been able to recover, and the coming on board of Lumwana has brought some additional production,” Chishimba told Reuters.

The central bank said in its fortnightly statistics bulletin that cobalt output had dropped 21% to 1 281 tonnes in the same period from 1 555 tonnes produced last year, while exports had also declined by 20% to 1 229 tonnes from 1 577 tonnes.

Chishimba said Zambia’s plan to produce 600 000 tonnes of copper this year was achievable if all mining fundamentals such as power supply and increased production lines were maintained.

Industry officials pointed out that the state-run power utility Zesco had raised power supply to the mines, following recent power rationing, further improving production stability.