The new dawn government of President Hakainde Hichilema has set its vision clearly when it comes to copper mining – it wants to ramp up production to three million tonnes per annum in the next decade.
With current production standing around 800,000 metric tonnes (mt) per annum, it is quite an ambitious plan – too ambitious, some in the industry have argued.
But there is good motivation for such efforts – an expected huge demand for copper driven by the nascent electric car industry, and the price for the red metal, which peaked above US$10,000 per tonne about two years ago.
Copper prices reached an all-time high of US$10,512 per metric tonne on May 9, 2021, but have receded to about US$8,000 in the recent past, which is still a good price for copper producing countries such as Zambia.
Some mining companies in the country are already responding accordingly to the prospect of high demand, making new investments to increase production. But one major player, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), cannot rush to the table yet, held back by