Low copper price attracts debate
The Chamber of Mines of Zambia says if low copper prices continue on the international market the industry will have to review its operations in the country.
Chamber President Emmanuel Mutati says if the prices which are currently below 7-thousand US Dollars per tonne continue going down, mining firms might be forced to address their operations through cutting down expenses which include labour costs.
Speaking during a CMZ-Press Association of Zambia Media Breakfast in Lusaka today Mr. Mutati has noted that the global downturn has affected the copper prices the past few months.
He has also revealed that capital investments in the mining sector amounting to 8-billion dollars since 2000 have led to an increase in copper production currently standing around 700-thousand metric tonnes up from 260-thousand metric tonnes a few years ago.
Mr. Mutati has however stated that current projects such as the Kalumbila and Kansanshi smelter both costing over 2.6billion US Dollars are projected to increase copper production to about 1.5million tonnes per annum when completed by 2016.
He says this is expected to make Zambia the 4th world producer of copper from the current ranking of 7th.
Mr. Mutati who is also Mopani Copper Mine Board Chairman further reveals that the mining sector as of 2012 accounted for 74-thousand jobs an increase from 27-thousand in 2000.
He was also quick to note that a shortfall of 250 mega watts in terms of electricity generation is among the challenges being faced in light of high production targets.
The Chamber of Mines of Zambia President has further commended government for allocating 120-million US Dollars toward revamping of rail infrastructure in the country through Zambia Railways Limited.
And Konkola Copper Mines -KCM- Director-Strategy and Business Development Brad Gnanasivam reiterated his company’s commitment not to cut down on jobs in view of challenges being faced in the sector.
He says KCM has instead looked at ways of making its operations more sustainable without cutting down any jobs.