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Zambia aims to increase copper production to one million tons by 2026

by Dubaiforum

Zambia’s Finance Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, recently announced a promising forecast for the country’s copper production, with expectations that it could reach one million tons by 2026. This anticipated surge is attributed to investments aimed at expanding production in various mines, notably those under the ownership of First Quantum Minerals.

Despite being the second-largest producer of copper in Africa, Zambia has experienced a gradual decline in production levels in recent years. However, the government has set ambitious targets to significantly increase output to around three million tons within the next decade.

In 2023, data from the Zambia Chamber of Mines revealed a decline in copper output to 698,000 tons from 763,000 tons the previous year. The revival of Mopani Copper Mines, which secured a new investor, and the resolution of the ownership dispute with Vedanta Resources regarding Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) are expected to boost production levels.

Musokotwane emphasized the significance of the return of Mopani and KCM to the mining landscape, stating, “The two mining giants were out of the equation, now they are back,” during an interview on Lusaka-based radio station Radio Phoenix. Moreover, ongoing investments in expanding output at First Quantum’s Kansanshi mine and Barrick Gold’s plans to invest approximately billion to increase output at its Lumwana mine are projected to support the rise in copper production.

International Resources Holding (IRH) from the United Arab Emirates has also pledged .1 billion to expand production at Mopani mines after acquiring a 51% stake in the copper assets previously owned by Glencore. The Zambian government is hopeful that these investments will lead to increased mining activities at KCM following the resolution of the ownership dispute with Vedanta.

With these developments in the mining sector, Musokotwane anticipates that Zambia will surpass the one-million-ton mark in copper production by the end of 2026. Overall, the future looks promising for Zambia’s copper industry, with significant investments paving the way for increased production levels.

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