Working on the
conveyor at Lumwana
copper mine in
northwest Zambia
 
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 September 2010 – Copper production in Zambia “’ Africa’s largest producer of the metal “’ rose 10.3% in the first seven months of 2010 compared with the same period last year, due to higher efficiencies in mining.

The Bank of Zambia said in the latest edition of its fortnightly statistics report released here that copper output had risen to 437 842 tonnes from 397 121 tonnes in the same period last year.

Exports of the metal increased to 441 185 tonnes compared with 369 065 tonnes exported in the first seven months of 2009.

Chibamba Kanyama “’ a member of the think-tank Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) “’ said the increase in production was mainly as a result of the use of specialist services by mines such as Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).

“The production strategy by KCM to outsource some production lines has reduced costs and boosted efficiency because they are using specialist services and there is less wastage,” Kanyama told Reuters.

He said the start-up of the Equinox Minerals Lumwana mine and the increase in global metals prices had also boosted the output at Zambian copper and cobalt mines. “The mines are taking advantage of the favourable price and are using new technology to ensure higher production” he added.

Cobalt production from January to July jumped 86.4% to 4 724 tonnes versus last year and exports rose to 4 725 tonnes from the 2 521 tonnes the country recorded in the first seven months of 2009, the central bank said.

Zambia has continued to attract mining investments to lift output to the targeted 750 000 tonnes this year and 1 million tonnes by 2012, according to Central Bank governor Caleb Fundanga.

The government and the Chamber of Mines of Zambia both said investments in the mining sector, the country’s economic lifeblood, have peaked at US$5 billion (R36.5 billion) in the last eight years.