Metal production at Konkola Copper Mines recovered about a fifth in the second quarter, but it was not enough to prevent a hefty year-on-year decline in the group’s copper production for the six months ended September 30.
Mined metal production declined to 45,000 tonnes in the six months – a 22% reverse.
Output in the second quarter was 21% higher compared to the first quarter at some 21,000 tonnes.
The metal is mined from Konkola and Nchanga which has an open pit and underground section.
Vedanta also mines copper from India.
On an interim basis, custom volumes increased to 58,000 tonnes, 61% higher compared to the first half of its 2017 financial year mainly due to higher concentrate availability in the market, the group said.
A focus on equipment availability and close liaison with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) was behind the improvement in production.
Vedanta is also reviewing the current contracting model in order to improve responsibility for production and productivity.
At Nchanga, “expert supervision” of the OEM and improved equipment maintenance saw output increase while production at the underground mine also improved.
It was expected to operate at targeted production from the third quarter onwards.
Production was also higher at the tailings leach plant.
The higher quarterly production and an increase in toll smelting from third parties led to increase utilisation of the smelter.
Vedanta said during the quarter, the plant was successfully tested for higher throughputs demonstrating higher capability than current levels.
Custom volumes totalled 32,000 tonnes in the second quarter, an improvement of 64% and 20% on a year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter basis respectively.
“Water levels at Kariba Dam has improved and is expected to improve further post the monsoon season. Power cuts in the country have been stopped but the force majeure declared by ZESCO and CEC continues,” the group said.