May 13 (Bloomberg) -- Copper production in Zambia, Africa's biggest producer of the metal, fell 3 percent in the first quarter, the Bank of Zambia said.
Output dropped to 174,725 metric tons in the three months through March, from 180,188 tons in the previous quarter, the Lusaka-based central bank said in a statement today.
Production retreated because of above-normal rainfall in the period, Fundanga said. Most of Zambia's mines are open-pit.
When compared with the same quarter a year earlier, output climbed 2.2 percent from 170,948 tons.
Earnings from the metal increased 19 percent to $1.27 billion in the quarter compared with the last three months of 2009. Copper shipment volumes climbed 7.8 percent to 191,229 tons over the same period.
Cobalt output advanced 3.4 percent to 1,961 tons from the previous quarter, while export earnings from the metal rose 32 percent to $78 million.