HomeBase MetalsZambian copper production up 20%

Zambian copper production up 20%

Pouring metal
at a Zambian
copper operation
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 August 2009 – Cathode copper output in Zambia “’ Africa’s largest producer of the metal “’ rose more than 20% to 349 333 tonnes for the six months to 30 June this year, compared to 288 057 tonnes in the same period last year.

Announcing this here, the Zambian central bank also revealed that cobalt production had declined to 1 690 tonnes in the first six months of the year from 2 230 tonnes “’ a drop of 32%.
Bank of Zambia governor Caleb Fundanga said copper exports in the first half of the year had risen to 336 705 tonnes, compared to 284 250 tonnes in the same period last year “’ up almost 20%. Cobalt exports had fallen 25% to1 793 tonnes, compared to 2 253 tonnes last year.

“I believe that it is possible to achieve the target of 600 000 tonnes of copper by the end of the year," Fundanga told reporters in the Zambian capital.

“Even if exports of cobalt declined, the increase in the price of cobalt compensated for that,” he added.

Reuters reports that Zambia earns 63% of its total foreign exchange from copper exports, and the mines are also a major employer in this southern African country of 12 million people.

The government has forecast that copper production will rise to over 600 000 tonnes this year from 569 000 tonnes the previous year.

London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, Equinox Minerals Limited and Glencore International AG are among the main foreign mining firms operating in Zambia.