COPPER production by the large scale mines during the period 1st January 2020 to 30th September 2020 stood at 646,111.25 tonnes compared to 590,321.13 tonnes recorded during the same period in 2019 representing an increase of 55,790.12 tonnes, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Hon. Richard Musukwa has said.
And Hon. Musukwa said Gold has been identified as a strategic mineral that can drive the diversification agenda in the Mining Industry.
Addressing the press in Lusaka yesterday, Hon. Musukwa said the increase in Copper production was due to increased output by NFCA, Kansanshi, Lumwana and Kalumbila.
Hon. Musukwa said Copper production by the small scale processing plants was 9,633.856 tonnes during the period under review recording an increase of 2,871.969 tonnes over last year’s production which was at 6,761.887 tonnes.
“The increase in the processing capacity of small scale processing plants in the third quarter of 2020 as compared to that of 2019 is as a result of stabilized power supply to the plants and importation of Copper Ore from Congo,” said Hon Musukwa.
Meanwhile, Hon Musukwa said government has developed a Gold mining strategy to guide the exploitation of the precious mineral in the Country having identified Gold as a strategic mineral that can drive the diversification agenda.
He said Gold production by Kansanshi Mining Plc stood at 2,717.1 kgs compared to last year’s production of 2,920.29 kgs. ZCCM-IH produced a total of 54.8886 kgs of Gold at Kasenseli Mine, most of which was produced in August and September 2020.
And Hon. Musukwa also disclosed that Cobalt production was 215.22 tonnes compared to last year’s production which stood at 296.26 tonnes, adding that the decline in production can be attributed to operational challenges at KCM.
“Nickel production was 4,522.33 tonnes compared to last year’s production of 1,641.06 tonnes and the increase in production can be attributed to the ramping up of production at Mabiza resources.”
Hon. Musukwa further said the country recorded Manganese production of 27,790 tonnes compared to last year’s production of 13,652 tonnes and that the increase in production was due to compliance in terms of reporting by 21 small scale Manganese producers.
“It is also important to note that increased compliance contributed to the reduction in illegal mining activities. And Emerald/Beryl production during the period under review was 5,857.18 kgs while that for the same period in 2019 was 16,679.61 kgs,” he said.
“The reduction in Emerald/Beryl production was due to suspension of operations at Kagem Mine from April 2020 due to covid 19, and scaling down of operations by Grizzly from March to October by 50%.”
The Mines Minister however said the prospect for the mining sector looks positive despite the COVID-19 pandemic due to interventions the government has put in place.
He said the commodity prices on the international market have started making positive gains stating that the rise in the Copper price will incentivize the mining companies to further increase production output at a global scale.
“There has been an increase in the production of electric vehicles which rely on Copper and the more advanced the technology becomes, the more copper the industry will require. Additionally, global demand for electricity is expected to continue, which will require large quantities of Copper in terms of Copper Wire production. Demand for Manganese and Nickel will also continue to be high owing to their usage in Electric Car Batteries.”