Glencore’s Zambia unit to keep copper mines running

[] — Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines (MCM), a unit of Swiss firm Glencore International AG, said on Monday it had reversed a plan to suspend output at its copper mines due to an uptick in prices and falling production costs.

MCM, Zambia’s second largest mining company, said in March it planned to suspend operations at its Nkana underground and open pit mines and the Mufulira mines mainly on account of high production costs coupled with the collapse in copper prices.

Copper has more than doubled since the start of the year, largely due to Chinese restocking, and speculative buying and signs of a gradual recovery in the world economy.

“Following a detailed review of its mining, processing and administrative operations, Mopani expects to achieve a significant cost reduction through the implementation of a range of cost savings programmes,” Mopani said in a statement.

“This together with a slightly improved copper price environment has enabled Mopani to make the decision to continue with its mining operations rather than place the shafts on care and maintenance.”

MCM also reported its ore bodies at its two units were ageing and nearing the end of their productive lives.

The company said it plans to re-evaluate the potential of the untapped resource of 100 million tonnes of copper-bearing ore located below the existing Nkana South ore body and central shaft ore body.