Zambia copper earnings up in first half of 2010

16:55, August 05, 2010      

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Zambia, Africa's biggest copper producer, saw its earnings from copper exports rising during the first half of this year, figures from the central bank have shown.

Quoting an official from the central bank, the Post of Zambia reported on Thursday that earnings from copper sales rose 2.5 million U.S. dollars.

The country's increased receipts from copper exports have been attributed to the rise in output in most mining units in the aftermath of the global economic crisis, rallying on the resurging international copper prices, according to the Post.

Bank of Zambia (BoZ) assistant director for Macro Analysis Division in the Economics Department Dr Francis Chipimo said the country was this year expected to produce more base minerals compared to last year.

The official said increased output resulted from the resumption of operations by most mines while new mines were to ramp up production in view of increasing international copper prices.

The country in the first half of this year produced 393,089 tons compared with 339,472 tons during the same period in 2009. Copper output is estimated to have risen by 16 per cent in the first half of the year after mines increased output.

The first-half copper output of 393,089 tons put the country on course to hit its annual target of 750,000 tons.

Correspondingly, Zambia's copper exports during the first six months rose to 405,784 tons from the 310,956 tons exported in the first half of last year.

On the other hand, central bank figures show that cobalt production during the period under review more than doubled to 4, 057 tons from 1,967 tons last year, while exports of the metal increased to 3,889 tons from 1,950 tons last year.

According to the central bank official, the resumption of operations at Chambishi Copper Smelter, the country's biggest cobalt plant, and increasing output at Lumwana Mine were expected to prop up metal productions this year.

"There is increased output at new mines while existing mines are increasing capacity utilization. New mines are picking up relatively fast, and so, the half year results are quite strong," the official was quoted as saying.



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