Copper output from Zambia, Africa’s main copper producer increased over 100,000 tones in the first quarter this year compared to a year earlier, the Bank of Zambia says.
According to the Lusaka-Based Bank of Zambia, copper production rose to over 400,000 metric tons in the first quarter of 2014 from around 300,000 tons produced in the same period a year earlier.
According to the Central Bank copper output rose to 473,249 metric tons between January and May from 399,515 tons produced in the same period last year, Bank of Zambia said on its website.
The increased copper outturn was chiefly on account of the increase in the mineral output to new developments currently taking place in the mining sector across the country, which saw copper output rise by 18 percent during the period under review.
“Copper export earnings grew by 7.4 percent to US$3,209.1 million during the first five months of the year from US$2,987.5 million recorded over the same period last year, driven by higher export volumes,” the statement reads further.
Copper export volumes, at 477.485.3 metric tons, were 19.4 percent higher than 399,919.8 metric tons recorded during the corresponding period in 2013.
The average realised price of copper, however, declined by 10 percent to US$6,720.86 per ton from US$7,471.77 registered during the same period last year.
However, the statement notes a decline in copper prices by 9.1 percent to the US$6,691.00 per ton as at 11 June this year from US$7, 360 per ton at the end of December 2013, impacted on market sentiment.
Government policy would remain focused on diversifying the export base through supportive interventions in economic sectors and activities with the greatest potential for exports.
Recently, Zambia’s central bank governor, Michael Gondwe predicted a rise in copper output as more new projects come on stream.
Zambia, now rated eighth richest producer of the red metal in the world has increased copper output in recent years to more than 900,000 tons per annum and seeks to raise output to 1,500,000 tons per annum by 2016.
There are plans to further boost the production by 2020 with the oncoming investment in the sector, which so far has generated US$8 billion since the privatization of the mines in the late 1990s.