• The sector performed better than anticipated as Copper production increased to 882,061.46 tonnes.
• Copper production by large scale mines increased to 868,670.46 in 2020 compared to a production of 787,698.77 in 2019.
• Copper production by small scale mines increased to 13,391 tonnes in 2020 from 8,732 tonnes recorded in 2019.
Minister of Mines and Minerals Development has disclosed that the country recorded an increase in Copper production in 2020.
Addressing the media, Richard Musukwa said the Mining sector performed extremely well last year as Copper Production increased to 882, 061.46 tonnes compared to 776, 430.77 tonnes recorded in 2019, representing an upsurge of 9.71 percent.
Mr. Musukwa said the increase in Copper production last year was as a result of the favorable policies and interventions implemented by government coupled with expansion projects and ramping up of operations by both small and large scale mining companies except for Lubambe and Chibuluma that recorded a decrease in production due to operational challenges and suspension of operations at Chibuluma Mines.
He stated that Copper Production by large scale mining companies increased to 868, 670.46 in 2020 compared to 787, 698.77 tonnes recorded in 2019, representing an increase of 9.32 percent.
“The increase in Copper production by large scale mines is mainly attributed to the increase in production by Kalumbila Minerals and Kansanshi Mine PLC, while the increase in Copper production by small scale mines was due to increased processing capacities by small scale mines in 2020 as compared to 2019 as well as the stabilized power supply to plants.”
“There was a significant increase in the production of coal from 361,647.80 tonnes in 2019 to 448,821.40 tonnes in 2020. The increase in production was due to the rise in demand for coal for power generation,” Mr. Musukwa explained.
Mr. Musukwa further said the country has projected to produce a total of 900,000 tonnes of Copper this year, adding that commodity prices on the international market have started making positive gains which will encourage the mining companies to further increase their production.
Meanwhile, Mr. Musukwa disclosed that Gold production reduced to 3,578.81 kg last year compared to 3,912.753 kg produced during the same period in 2019.
He attributed the reduction in production of the commodity to reduced grades of Gold in ores mined at Kansanshi.
The Minister further stated that the new developments in the gold subsector saw the participation of a new entrant in the market, namely; Zambia Gold Company Limited which was tasked to purchase Gold from artisanal and small scale miners for the purpose of building the country’s Gold reserves at Bank of Zambia (BoZ).
“I am glad to inform members of the press that Zambia Gold Company Limited was able to produce a total of 93.66 Kg of Gold in 2020 from its mining operation at Kasenseli and was able to sell a total of 47.9 Kg of Gold to Bank of Zambia on 31st December, 2020. This is in an effort to build the country’s Gold reserves. Please note that Gold production by Zambia Gold Company Limited commenced in May 2020. I wish to commend the company for a job well done and we expect production to continue increasing as the company ramps up,” he said.
He also revealed that in the year under review, the mining sector recorded a decline in the production of Gemstones which stood at 9,783.43kg compared to 23,704.61 kg in the previous year.
Mr. Musukwa attributed the reduction to the suspension of operations at both Kagem Mining Limited and Gemcanton Mining Services Ltd due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A total of 4 Gemstone auctions were held during the period under review by Kagem and Gemcanton generating revenue of USD 52.76 million as compared to 7 auctions conducted in 2019 which generated total revenue of USD 125.5 million. The reduction in the number of auctions held was due to the Covid-19 pandemic which had restrictions on movements by most countries.”
And Mr. Musukwa said Cobalt production in 2020 reduced to 287.19 tonnes from the production of 367.281 tonnes in 2019, representing a reduction of 27.9 percent.
He stated the low performance in the Cobalt subsector was due to the reduced Cobalt mineralization and operational challenges experienced at Konkola Copper Mine.
The Minister said in the area of value addition, three companies namely, Neelkanth Cables, ZAMEFA and Zalco were adding value to Copper cathodes and produced various sizes of Copper cables which were consumed locally and exported to other countries.
He added that several medium to small scale companies were producing jewelry from gemstones which include Jagoda Gem, Jewel of Africa, South Stream Enterprise Limited and the Zambia Gemstone Miners and Traders Marketing Association.