Dec 22, 2011 (Dow Jones) -- Copper output in Zambia, Africa's top producer, increased about 1.7% on the year in the first 11 months of 2011 as mines recover from production disruptions earlier this year, the Central Bank of Zambia said Thursday.
The bank said January-November copper output totaled 791,004 metric tons compared with 777,927 tons produced in the same period last year.
During November, copper mines in Zambia registered 80,174 metric tons, the highest monthly copper production since the start of the year, according to the Central Bank data.
Excess rains, power outages and strikes all hurt copper mining operations in the country since the start of the year, according to the Chamber of Mines of Zambia.
Above-normal rains earlier this year caused flooding at some open-pit mines, disrupting mining operations.
A number of copper and cobalt operations were also disrupted during September-October by strikes at several Chinese-owned mines in the Copperbelt over wage disputes.
Strikes erupted following the election of populist president Michael Sata, a hitherto strong critic of Chinese investments in the country's mining sector.
Last year, Zambia saw record production of 820,000 tons and is targeting 900,000 tons this year. Output is expected to hit 2 million tons in the next five years as more pipeline copper projects come on stream.