By KENNEDY MUPESENI –
GOVERNMENT is confident that the targeted 850,000 tonnes of Copper will be achieved by the end of the year in view of the strong indication of increased production by various mining firms in the country.
Copper production marginally rose to 770,588 from 710,860 in 2015 with Government pegging its 2017 forecast at 850,000 tonnes.
According to the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), Copper production was recorded at 576,128.1 tonnes in September this year, 4.2 per cent higher than last year.
Mines and Mineral Development Minister Christopher Yaluma said preliminary indications showed that Copper production targets would be met.
“The mining sector stands to ramp up their production, issues we face during the first to three years has been ironed out,” Mr Yaluma said.
The minister said this in an interview after meeting Kitwe’s illegal miners commonly known as ‘Jerabos’ at the council chambers on Monday evening.
He recalled that due to low power supply as a result of stumpy water in major hydro reservoirs, mining firms were restricted to 70 per cent thereby affecting production.
The situation has now changed since mining companies are receiving full power supply coupled with robust Copper price outlook on the international market,
Mr Yaluma observed that a lot of potential investors have gone full-scale exploration.
“Potential investors are going into prospecting, that is an indication to know whether we shall do well or not, so in the next four years we shall see more mines ramping up production,” he said.
The minister said 61 per cent of the country has been mapped which would result in more potential investors venturing into mining because of the available data adding that efforts were being made to map the remaining 39 per cent.
“Government has embarked on mapping the country, because if we do not map, it is difficult to know the country’s potential, data cut cost restraints and potential investors attractions as it is ease to make an investment decision because they are guided by the available data,” Mr Yaluma said.