Zambia's Kansanshi mine lifts copper output

LUSAKA, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Copper production at Zambia's Kansanshi mine, a unit of Canada's First Quantum Minerals FM.TO rose to 182,500 tonnes in the first nine months to September 2009 compared with output of 153,300 tonnes in the same period last year, state radio reported on Friday.

Kansanshi environment manager, Richard Zyambo said the mine produced 61,300 tonnes of copper in the third quarter of this year, higher than the 53,400 tonnes of copper produced in the same period last year.

“We hope that the current levels of production will help the mine to reach the projected 2009 target of 244,000 tonnes of copper,” state ZNBC radio quoted Zyambo as saying during a meeting with the local community.

Zyambo said production costs between January and September, 2009 decreased by 28 percent when compared with expenses in the same period of 2008.

“This can be attributed to the cost saving initiatives implemented in quarter four of 2008 and lower oil and sulphur prices,” Zyambo said.

Zyambo said the mine continued to operate within the environmental and social management plans that were prepared in line with the national environmental regulations.

Copper mining is Zambia’s economic mainstay and the copper and cobalt producers are a major employer in this southern African country of 12 million people.

Other foreign mining companies operating in Zambia include London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc VED.L, Equinox Minerals EQN.TOEQN.AX, Glencore International AG [GLEN.UL] of Switzerland and Metorex MTXJ.J of South Africa. (Reporting By Chris Mfula; editing by James Jukwey) ((Johannesburg newsroom; +27 11 775 3155))

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