May 23, 2019 / 10:53 AM / 4 months ago

Zambia's Chamber of Mines warns of 'drastic' fall in copper output

A truck exits the mine after collecting ore from 516 metres below the surface at the Chibuluma copper mine in the Zambian copperbelt region, January 17, 2015. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia’s 2019 copper output could be as much as 100,000 tonnes lower than last year as changes to mining tax drive miners to cut production, the Chamber of Mines said on Thursday.

“Present forecasts are that copper production, both concentrate and finished copper, will now be drastically lower than last year, and could be as much as 100,000 tonnes lower,” it said in a statement.

Referring to tax changes the mining industry says will stymie investment, it said the 2019 tax regime was “forcing miners to do the unthinkable – to cut production – because many cannot afford to continue producing as before”.

Last year’s output was 861,946 tonnes, the chamber said.

Reporting by Chris Mfula, writing by Barbara Lewis; editing by Jason Neely

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