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Zambian Copper Output Returns to 70's Highs

Zambian copper shipments are having a good run on the global market with officials expecting exports to reach a four decade peak in the year 2010.

The finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said in a presentation of the national budget to parliament that with 720,000 metric tonnes in shipments the copper exports will reach the highest level in the past 37 years.

This would enable the country to earn in mining taxes 1.7 trillion kwacha ($356 million), or eight percent of the 2011 budget.

Musokotwane said copper earnings were expected to be around $4,612 million in 2010 from $3,179 million last year.

Copper production has been boosted in the country since the mines were privatized in the early 2000s. The government has forecasted that the copper output would reach 1 million tonnes by the year 2012.

The copper mining industry is the economic lifeblood of the nation of Zambia. As per the Camber of Mines of Zambia and the Treasury more than $5 billion have been invested in the industry in the last decade.

The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper mining industry. Output of copper had fallen, however, to a low of 228,000 metric tons in 1998, after a 30 year decline in output due to lack of investment, low copper prices, and uncertainty over privatisation.

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