BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) - China's top copper producer Jiangxi Copper plans to increase refined copper output by 12.5 percent this year, chairman Li Yihuang told reporters on Friday.
Output of 900,000 tonnes of refined copper is forecast for 2010 compared to about 800,000 tonnes in 2009, Li said.
Li also expected strong copper prices, which rose nearly 140 percent in international market MCU3 and over 150 percent in Shanghai SCFc3 last year.
"Prices are likely to remain strong, even though real demand is just so-so, because there are a lot of bulls in the market," Li said on the sidelines of China's annual parliament meeting.
The firm has a designed smelting capacity of 600,000 tonnes a year using copper concentrate as feed. It also operates another 200,000 tonnes of designed smelting capacity using scrap as feed in Guixi city.
The two smelting systems could run above designed capacity and reach a total of 900,000 tonnes a year. It also has 900,000 tonnes of annual refining capacity.