Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Zambia is ill prepared to attain 3 million tonnes of copper annually in 10 years


Mining Expert Cryton Phiri says the country is ill-prepared to attain the 3 million metric tons annual copper production due to unresolved challenges facing the country’s two biggest mines Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines.

The new dawn administration has targeted to increase Copper production from the current 830,000 metric tonnes to 3 million per year in the next ten years.

Dr Phiri said the unresolved issues prevailing at Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines are of serious concern because they are affecting Copper production in the country.

He said there is a need for the country to engage in more exploration works to ensure that the country has correct data on how much Copper the country has in its reserves.

Yesterday, Zambia’s annual copper production continued to drop with the latest figures showing a 4.6 percent drop in production figures as of quarter 3 of 2022.

According to the Ministry Of Mines figures made available to phoenix news by the Zambia chamber of mines chief executive officer Sokwani Chilembo, the country produced a total of 565, 806.9 tons of copper between January and September 2022 compared to a total of 593, 500.42 tons for the same period in 2021.

This 4.6 percent drop in copper production figures represents a total reduction of 27,693.52 tons for the period January 2022 to September 2022 as compared to the same period last year.

Mr. Chilembo has attributed this sustained drop in production figures, to a diversity of operating and supply chain issues including heavy rains in the northwest and floods in Kwazulu natal of South Africa, that are continually impacting the mining supply chains.

The 2022 reduced production level in the mining sector is against the Zambian government’s resolve to increase productivity in the sector with a national target of 3 million metric tons of annual copper production within 10 years.

And this week, the government said that it was urgently working around the clock to ensure that the KCM and Mopani Copper Mines issues are resolved as urgently as possible. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Paul Kabuswe says discussions with the necessary stakeholders to find an amicable solution are already underway.

Addressing a media briefing in Lusaka , where he refuted recent media reports suggesting that he is about give a final statement regarding the two mining firms , Mr. Kabuswe said it is too early to state a final position.

“As to how the talks have progressed, I think it will be unfair on both ZCCM-IH, who is ourselves as Government and also Vedanta to prematurely bring out anything when the talks have not reached a level where we can tell the nation where we are,” he said.

Government is eager to see to it that the two mines contribute towards the three million metric tonnes of copper target that has been set for the next decade. Mr Kabuswe said the two mines need to deliver optimal production levels.

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development said government is working closely with management for both mines to ensure that no worker loses employment.

And the Minister dismissed reports that Reliant Mining, a contractor at KCM will soon halt operations. Mr Kabuswe said it is not true that the firm will prune all the workers and shut down..

“It is an unfounded rumour, the truth of the matter is that reliant, is still a contractor at KCM and their contract has actually been extended,” he said.

Mopani Copper Mines is currently on care and maintenance while KCM is in liquidation. President Hakainde Hichilema has previously pledged that his Government will resolve the impasse regarding the two mines.


  1. In 2021, Kansanshi produced 202,159 tonnes of copper. To get to 3 million tonnes per year in the next 10 years, Zambia has to effectively bring online a new Kansanshi mine every year, that is add over 220,000 tonnes of new copper production every year from new mines or from existing or a combination.

    Another way to look at this is can Zambia build 10 new Kananshi mines in the next 10 years?

  2. If u hv a fully funded budget of mining capital to invest which u yourself control u can dream about 3 million tonnes of copper production in the next ten years. If u hv to rely on other people to do that, it’s wishful thinking to imagine that as a possibility. It’s always advisable to subject your thinking to objective evaluation before making it public.

  3. Sometimes, you give yourself a very high limit to prove how ambitious you are. Even if 3 million tonnes is not achieved, Hon. Musokotwane would have tried his best to increase Zambia’s copper production.
    Get an example of ZRA. They are forever beating their own targets. Last year, taxes (K59.3 billion) collected were 3 months ahead of aim.
    Even when the pond is abounding with lots of fish, the ‘taxman’ don’t raise the bar to catch more. Aim for the moon, when you miss it a star is more likely the next hit.

  4. The problem with Zambian experts is that they just repeat what has been said before and only add an alarming statement or excuse. This is what makes many not to be interested in such topics. What will be the positives and negatives of this achievement? How will the environment be adequately compensated? You can’t produce 3m tons of copper and expect things to remain the same. How about cobalt? Most of Zambia’s ore has a component of cobalt which is produced side by side with copper. What will be the contribution to the treasury from the current paltry 6% from mining? That’s what we want to hear before we can support that push

  5. We have enough mining engineers in government and I hope they can advise this government that if they cannot produce 3million tonnes of maize how do they hope to produce 3million tonnes of finished copper.
    To produce 3million tonnes of finished copper at the general in situ grade (without dilution factor), you need to mine more than 150million tonnes ( up to concentrate level) of mineral ore from the ground. And you must hope that the grade holds. This is before you get to smelter or leaching level.
    I wish the best.

    • To dream to produce 3million tonnes of maize is determination, achievable should be encouraged. To dream to produce 3million tonnes of contained copper in Zambia is being insane and out of place.

    • Tribalism is the only reason why we are not producing 3 million tons of Maize. One of the first things they did when they took over from Kaunda was to kill agriculture in Southern Province. That most productive of Zambian provinces saw its agricultural output drop by 80% in Chiluba’s rule alone. Two million cows were allowed to die by Chiluba. I wish we had left the little bugger to die in that Choma prison where Kaunda imprisoned him. I hate that evil, skin bleaching dwarf from DRC

  6. If Congo did it, why can’t we also “did” it.
    We are banking on the Congolese fortunes to see how our new mining tax regime would impactfully give rise from 830K to 3000K tonnes with a gain of 261%. This is an over ambitious project. Let’s wait and see if we really can did it.


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