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Zambia achieves record high copper production in 2020, minister says

Christian Fernsby |
Zambia produced 882,061 tonnes of copper in 2020, up 10.8% from 796,430 tonnes produced in 2019, Mines Minister Richard Musukwa said on Tuesday, calling it a historical high for Africa's second-largest copper producer.

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Topics: ZAMBIA   

Musukwa said Zambia aims to produce more than 900,000 tonnes of copper in 2021, and has a long-term goal of exceeding 1 million tonnes in annual production.

A worldwide shift to electric cars, which use much more copper than cars using traditional combustion engines, is expected to boost production of the metal, Musukwa said.

"The prospects for the mining sector look positive despite COVID-19," Musukwa said.

Zambia's cobalt production, however, fell 21.8% in 2020, to 287 tonnes from the 367 tonnes produced in 2019. Musukwa put that drop down to reduced cobalt mineralisation and operational challenges at Konkola Copper Mine.

Gold production fell to 3,579 kg in 2020 from 3,913 kg in 2019 as ore grades at the Kansanshi mine fell, the minister said in a statement.

Nickel production more than doubled to 5,712 tonnes in 2020 from 2,500 in 2019, Musukwa said, adding that restructuring and streamlining of nickel operations had helped drive production up.

Zambia's manganese production jumped 79% to 28,409 tonnes in 2020 from 15,904 tonnes in 2019. With manganese mainly produced by small-scale miners, Musukwa said increased formalization of manganese operations helped boost production.


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