Windhoek – Zambia saw a significant increase in copper production in 2020 despite the broader mining sector being negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Copper yields increased to 882,061.46 tonnes in 2020 compared to 796,430.77 tonnes in 2019, a 9.7 percent increase.
Zambia is Africa’s second-largest producer of copper after the DRC, and the red metal is a major economic pillar for the SADC member state.
Making public a report on 2020 mineral production this week, Mines and Minerals Development Minister Richard Musukwa said favourable policies and interventions implemented by the government, coupled with expansion projects and ramping up of operations by miners, led to an increase in copper output by both large and small-scale companies
Only Kubambe and Chibuluma mines recorded lower output due to suspension of operations and operational challenges.
Minister Musukwa said, “The prospects of the mining sector look positive despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as all the given health guidelines are adhered to. The country has projected to produce a total of 900,000 tonnes of copper in 2021. The commodity prices on the international market have started making positive gains which will encourage the mining companies to further increase their production.”
The minister noted that on a global scale, there had been an increase in the production of electrical vehicles, which rely on copper, as well as of other electrical goods.
Apart from copper, other minerals that scaled up production were manganese, nickel and coal, which all increased by nearly 10 percent each due to restructuring and demand.