Choose Your Language Of Preference Below 

French Version German Version Russian Version Spanish Version 

LUSAKA (Reuters) – Production of cathode copper in Zambia rose 14.38 percent to 332,531 tonnes between January and July 2008 compared with the output for the same period last year, the central bank said on Friday.

The Bank of Zambia (BoZ) also said cobalt production for the same period fell slightly to 2,655 tonnes, versus 2,673 tonnes in the corresponding period in 2007.

The mineral-rich country of 12 million people exported 315,992 tonnes of copper for the seven months to July, indicating a 15.9 percent decline after exporting 265,803 tonnes in the same period last year, a report from the central bank showed.

However, cobalt exports rose to 2,716 tonnes this year compared with 2,642 tonnes in the same period in 2007.

Copper industry analysts have said fluctuations in production and export figures are due mainly to stockpiling by the copper mines and consumer demand.

Zambia plans to lift its copper output to 600,000 tonnes by December from 535,000 tonnes the previous year.

The government also forecast that copper production will peak at 1.0 million tones by 2010 after new mines begin production.

Treasury data indicated that the foreign copper and cobalt mines have invested more than $3 billion in the Zambian mining sector, the economic lifeblood of the country since the early 2000s.

The copper mines are Zambia’s major employer and earn the country the bulk of its foreign exchange.