MOPANI Copper Mines in Mufulira has increased copper production by 2,500 tonnes in the first quarter of 2014 highlighting a growth rate of 10 per cent, a quarterly report has disclosed.
Mopani, a subsidiary of Swiss owned conglomerate Glencore Xstrata, produced 27,700 tonnes of copper in the first quarter of 2014, compared to the 25,200 tonnes of the metal produced in the first quarter of 2013.
Glencore spokesperson Charles Watenphul attributed the increase in mined metal production to identified operational improvements resulting from heavy investments to redevelop and expand operations at the mine.
“African copper subsidiaries produced a total of 106,400 tonnes in the first quarter of 2014, with Mopani in Zambia contributing 27,700 tonnes of copper highlighting a growth rate of 10 per cent,” Mr Watenphul said.
Mopani has invested US$323 million in a deep mine copper project dubbed the Synclinorium Shaft, which is expected to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2015.
The Synclinorium Shaft is designed to extend the lifespan of the Nkana copper mine in Kitwe to 30 years with access to 115 million tonnes of mineral ore.
Mopani is also upgrading its cobalt plant at a cost of $27 million to enable it double the current production capacity to 7,000 tonnes from the current 2,800 tonnes by 2015.
The company has further invested more than K2.3 billion in upgrading the Mufulira smelter over three phases to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 97 per cent in 2014.
Since acquisition of a 90 per cent stake in Mopani over a decade ago, Glencore Xstrata has invested more than $2 billion on redeveloping mining operations at the mine.