Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 September 2008 – Zambia’s copper output for the six-month period to June 2008 rose by 20% to 286 750 tonnes, compared to the same period last year.
Central Bank deputy governor Denny Kalyalya told Reuters in an interview here that Africa’s top copper producer was on course to achieve the 600 000 tonnes annual output it had projected for 2008.
He pointed out, however, that there could be some production challenges in the event of heavy rains, which are expected to start in early November. “If there is no big interruption, that figure – or even a much higher production than last year – is achievable. We have high hopes that some mines will ramp up production,” Kalyalya told the news agency.
Zambia’s copper production in 2007 was 535 000 tonnes.
“Current production and export figures show that we are moving in the right direction, and they are a catalyst for more production in the future,” he added.
The Central Bank announcement revealed that copper exports had increased to 283 968 tonnes from 229 545 tonnes. Exports of cobalt were 2 253 tonnes compared with 2 139 tonnes in the period January to June 2007.
Kalyalya went on to say that new projects expected to come on stream would shore up copper and cobalt production, create more employment in mining and earn the country additional foreign exchange.
“This will be positive in terms of overall economic growth, and what we need now is more processing of copper so that not all the raw copper is exported, and so that the linkages between mining and mineral processing will add more revenue for the government," he said.
The copper mines are Zambia’s major employers and earn the country the bulk of its foreign exchange. Zambia forecasts that copper production will peak at 1.0 million tonnes by 2010 after new mines commence production.