LUSAKA, Aug. 3 -- Cathode copper output in Zambia, Africa's largest producer, rose to 349,333 tonnes for the six months to June this year compared to 288,057 tonnes in the same period last year, the central bank said on Saturday.
The data released by the central bank also showed that cobalt production declined to 1,690 tonnes in the first six months of the year from 2,230 tonnes.
Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Caleb Fundanga said copper exports in the first half of the year rose to 336,705 tonnes compared to 284,250 tonnes in the same period last year.
Cobalt exports were 1,793 tonnes compared to 2.253 tonnes last year.
"I believe that it is possible to achieve the target for 600,000 tonnes of copper by the end of the year," Fundanga told reporters.
"Even if the exports of cobalt declined, the increase in the price of cobalt compensated for that."
Zambia earns 63 percent of its total foreign exchange from copper exports and the mines are also a major employer in this southern African country of 12 million people.
The government forecasts that copper production will rise to over 600,000 tonnes this year from 569,000 tonnes the previous year.
London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Canada's First Quantum Minerals, Equinox Minerals Ltd and Glencore International AG are some of the foreign mining firms operating in Zambia.