Copper output in Zambia declines 3% in first quarter: central bank

09:01, May 14, 2010      

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Zambia's copper output in the first quarter was 3 percent lower than the fourth quarter in 2009, the southern African country's central bank reported on Thursday.

Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Caleb M. Fundanga addressed media that copper output in the first quarter in 2010 in his country stands at 174,725.12 metric tons, 2.2 percent higher than 170,948.19 metric tons in the same period of 2009, but 3 percent lower compared with 180,188.17 metric tons produced in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Fundanga explained such declining is caused by the rainy season which disturbed the normal producing activities of mining firms.

However, copper export earnings of the country grow to 1,274.7 million U.S. dollars in the first quarter 2010, 19.5 percent higher than 1,067.1 million dollars recorded during the previous quarter, figures showed.

BoZ attributed the rise to the surging of copper price by 10.8 percent from 6,013.37 dollars per ton in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 6,665.59 dollars per ton in the first quarter 2010.

In terms of copper export volumes, the figures of BoZ showed that it increased by 7.8 percent to 191,229.77 metric tons from 177,457.68 metric tons recorded during the last quarter of 2009.

Zambia is Africa's top copper producer and copper accounts for 70 percent of the country' s foreign exchange earnings.

Zambia has projected to produce 750, 000 tons of copper this year, up from 660,000 tons produced last year. The country is also targeting a target of one million tons next year.



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