Zambia’s Copper Production Decreased in 2011

After reaching its highest levels since 1973 just two years ago, last year copper production in Zambia slightly decreased at the end of the year following the presidential elections.

According to new numbers cited by state officials, a total of K28,340 billion was raised from the sale of copper by mining companies in Zambia last year, while a total of 676,351 metric tonnes of copper was produced during the year 2011.

This figure contradicts earlier citations of copper production from the Bank of Zambia, which in February stated that Zambia produced 869,058 tonnes of copper in 2011, which was an increase from the record of 852,566 tonnes in 2010.  The 676,351 tonnes also falls far short of the ambitious forecasts at the beginning of 2011, which envisioned output topping 900,000 tonnes.  Some analysts we consulted commented that the presidential elections proposed an element of political risk that may have slowed production.

Mines, Energy, and Water Development Deputy Minister, Isaac Banda, said that Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) made K8,802 billion from the sale of copper and Kansanshi Mining Plc contributed a total of K9,438 billion.

Mr Banda said Chibuluma Mines Plc got K648 billion, Mopani Copper Mines K5, 014 while Lumwana realised K4,438 billion from January to December in 2011.  The Mines Deputy Minister told parliament on Thursday in response to a question from Chilubi Member of Parliament, Obby Chisala.

Mr Chisala wanted to know the total revenue in Zambian Kwacha realised from the sale of copper by Konkola Copper Mines, Kansanshi Mine, Chibuluma Mines, Mopani Copper Mines and Lumwana Mining Company from January to December 2011.

Mr Chisala had also brought a query asking how many metric tonnes of copper were produced by each of the five mining companies during the same period.

In response, the Deputy Minister cited a total of 676,351 metric tonnes of copper being produced collectively by the five mining companies between January and December 2011.

Mr Banda said mining companies will continue doing their best in order to increase production and realize more revenue for Zambia.  The minister also commented that mining companies must provide safe working conditions for employees in order to maximize their potential.

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