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Copper production in the first quarter in Zambia rose to 174,407 from 170,948 tonnes produced in the corresponding period last year, according to a statistics report from the Bank of Zambia (BoZ).
During the same period, copper exports in the first quarter rose to 173,421 tonnes from 153,306 tonnes that were exported in the same period in 2009.
"We should expect more copper with the start of production at the Konkola Deep Mining Project, the resumption of output at Baluba mine and ramp up at Lumwana mine," said Dr Mathias Mpande, a mining engineering senior lecturer at the University of Zambia.
Zambia expects to reach 800,000 tonnes of copper by the end of 2010. Last year, the country’s copper production was slightly below 700,000 tonnes.
Cobalt output in the first three months up to March 31 leaped to 1,921 tonnes from 1,081 tonnes in 2009 while exports increased to 1,905 tonnes from the 1,251 tonnes exported during the first quarter of 2009.
Cobalt production is increasing because Chambishi Metals has started production again while the cobalt price is also rising, thus providing an impetus for producers to increase their output.