Sep 20, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Zambia's copper output in January to July rose 18% on the year-earlier period as the country's mining sector continues to recover from the global economic downturn, the Central Bank of Zambia said Monday.
Copper output rose to 467,342 metric tons compared with 397,121 tons in the year-earlier period, bank data show.
Copper mining is the lifeblood of the economy of Zambia, which is Africa's largest copper producer.
The volume of copper exports also increased to 476,754 tons in the first seven months of the year from 369,065 tons the year earlier, the bank said. Zambia exports nearly all its copper output in bars, mainly to the U.S., European and Asian markets.
The disparity between production and exports is due to stockpiling, according to Zambia's Chamber of Mines.
The country's cobalt output between January and July increased to 4,847 tons compared with 2,534 tons produced in the same period a year earlier. Industry officials attribute the continued increase in production to the resumption of output at Luanshya and the Chambishi Metals smelter, the country's largest cobalt smelter. The two units had closed in 2008 citing low global metal prices.
Zambia's Finance Ministry forecasts output reaching 740,000 tons this year compared with 700,000 tons last year as mines continue to ramp up output. Zambia's annual copper output is projected to hit 1 million tons by 2012 as expansion projects at mines like Konkola Copper Mines come on stream.