Zambia copper mine output increases

[] — Zambia, Africa’s largest copper producer, has projected a slight rise in 2009 copper output to 664,000 tonnes, compared with previous estimates of 600,000 tonnes due to rising production at the mines, data showed.

Zambia’s Treasury said on Thursday output from the copper mines would rise by a further 5 percent in 2010.

“Total copper production in 2010 is … projected to increase by about 5 percent from a projected 664,000 metric tonnes in 2009,” the Treasury said in a medium term spending policy document.

It also said copper output would gradually rise to 750,000 tonnes per year by 2012.

The Treasury said, however, that there were prospects of a significant rise in both copper and cobalt output when London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc completes its $500 million Konkola Deep Mining Project.

The project is expected to lift production at Konkola Copper Mines, a unit of Vedanta to 500,000 tonnes per year in 2010 from the current average of 200,000 tonnes per year.

“The positive mining sector outlook assumes that the global economy recovers in the medium term and the fundamentals for copper remain sound in terms of supply and demand,” the Treasury document said.