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Zambia to up copper output

ZAMBIA will be the second largest contributor to global copper by 2018, the latest International Copper Study Group (ICSG) report indicates.

According to the report, Global copper production capacity at mine level is expected to grow at an average annual rate of six per cent to reach 27.4 million tonnes a year in 2018.

The report shows that, globally, Peru is expected to contribute the largest show of 26 per cent followed by Zambia, which is currently second largest copper producer in Africa.

The two countries are among the six which will together account for 66 per cent of the global copper production increase.

“Peru is projected to account for 26 per cent of the additional capacity from new mine projects and expansions through 2018, followed by Zambia, Mexico, Mongolia, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Together these six countries will represent 66 per cent of the world growth,” the ICSG said.

In its bi-annual directory of copper mines and plants, the Lisbon-based research group states that concentrate output will represent more than 80 per cent of the expansion with production jumping by 4.8 to 21.7 million tonnes in 2018.

More than 900,000 tonnes of solvent-extraction or electro-winning capacity will be added over the same period to reach 5.7 million tonnes capacity.

Projects are also being planned in countries that currently do not mine copper, including Afghanistan, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Greece, Israel, Panama, Sudan and Thailand.

By 2018, total expected copper production capacity from projects starting in these new copper mining countries could reach 150,000 tonnes per year, and capacity could continue to increase well above one million tonnes per year if projects planned beyond 2018 in these countries are developed,” the ICSG indicates.

Concurrently, production from countries that started mining copper in the last decade is expected to increase to 550,000 tonnes per year by 2018 from only 4,000 tonnes per year in 2003.

Annual copper smelter capacity growth is forecast to lag behind mine output expansion, growing an average 3.1 per cent per year to reach 22.5 million tonnes per year in 2018, an increase of 2.6 million tonnes or 13.1 per cent from 2014.

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