Zambia targets one million tonnes copper output this year
LUSAKA, March 20 (Reuters) – Zambia expects to produce more than one million tonnes of copper this year after revising its 2017 copper production upwards on the back of stabe power supply, a senior ministry of mines official said on Tuesday.
Rising copper prices were also expected to boost revenue collection in Africa’s No.2 producer of the metal, which ranks exports of the metal as its biggest export.
Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda said the copper production figure was revised upwards to 800,000 tonnes from 786,731 tonnes announced by the central bank last month.
The southern African country produced 774,290 tonnes of copper in 2016.
“We actually hit 800,000 tonnes last year and we anticipate with certainty that we are going to reach a million tonnes or more this year,” Chanda told Reuters in an interview.
“With electric cars whose major ingredient is copper coming on the market, demand for the metal is expected to remain high and this is a big incentive for mining companies,” Chanda said.
Chanda said projects such as a new shaft by Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) owned by Glencore and an expansion project by China Non-Ferrous Africa Mining (NFCA) would start production this year and further boost copper output in 2018 and beyond.
Other mining companies operating in Zambia include Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, Barrick Gold Corp and London-listed Vedanta Resources.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia)