ZAMBIA, which is Africa’s second largest copper producer, last year mined a record high production registering a 10.8 percent increase from that produced in 2019.
Mines Minister Richard Musukwa disclosed on Tuesday, calling it a “historical high” for the country.
The mining sector produced 882, 061 tonnes of copper in 2020, up 10.8 percent from 796, 430 tonnes produced in 2019.
However, the Minister said Zambia aims to produce more than 900,000 tonnes of copper in 2021, and has a long-term goal of exceeding one-million tonnes in annual production.
“The prospects for the mining sector look positive despite COVID-19,” Mr Musukwa told Minningweekly.
“A worldwide shift to electric cars, which use much more copper than cars using traditional combustion engines, is expected to boost production of the metal,” Musukwa said.
Zambia’s cobalt production, however, fell 21.8 percent in 2020, to 287 tonnes from the 367 tonnes produced in 2019.
Mr Musukwa put that drop down to reduced cobalt mineralisation and operational challenges at Konkola Copper Mine.
Nickel production more than doubled to 5 712 tonnes in 2020 from 2 500 tonnes in 2019, Musukwa said, adding that restructuring and streamlining of nickel operations had helped drive production up.
Zambia’s manganese production jumped 79% to 28 409 tonnes in 2020 from 15 904 tonnes in 2019.
With manganese mainly produced by small-scale miners, Musukwa said increased formalisation of manganese operations helped boost production.