LUSAKA (Reuters) - Copper production in Zambia, Africa’s top producer of the metal, rose by 21 percent from January to September 2010 over the same period last year due to favourable mining conditions, the central bank said on Saturday.
Copper exports rose to 614,455 tonnes in the first three quarters of 2010 compared with 497,905 tonnes in 2009, central bank head of public relations Kanguya Mayondi told Reuters.
Copper production in the first nine months of 2010 was 625,844 tonnes versus 517,512 in the corresponding period of last year, Mayondi said.
“This out turn reflected continued improvement in hydro-geological conditions and uninterrupted mining operations in the country at both open pit and deep underground mines,” he said.
Cobalt production increased to 6,362 tonnes in the first three quarters of 2010 from 3,983 tonnes in the same period of 2009 and exports also rose to 6,236 tonnes in 2010 compared with 3,987 tonnes in 2009, Mayondi said.
This was mostly due to resumption of production at mines from Konkola Copper Mines and Chambishi Metals, Mayondi said.
Zambia’s copper production is expected to rise to more than 720,000 tonnes this year, the highest in nearly four decades, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said last month.
Foreign mining companies in Zambia include London-listed Vedanta Resources, Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, Equinox Minerals, Glencore International of Switzerland and Metorex of South Africa.