By FRANK MUKUPA
COPPER output increased by 7.6 percent to 857,848 tonnes in 2018 from 797,266 a year before, the Ministry of Finance annual economic report says.
Mining performance, the report says, in 2018 recorded a positive increase in production, particularly in large mines.
The report says performance was supported by satisfactory copper prices especially in the first half of the year, coupled with continued reliable supply of electricity.
Production by small-scale mines, the report says, increased significantly by 84 percent to 10, 859 tonnes from 5, 900.71 tonnes in 2017.
“In 2018, coal output increased by 65.2 percent to 344.848 metric tonnes from 208,608 metric tonnes in 2017. The increase was due to the continued rise in demand for the commodity for electricity generation and industrial activities,” the report says.
The report says emerald and beryl production declined by 71.1 percent to 18,868.56 kilogrammes in 2018 from 65,242.83 kilograms in 2017.
“Amethyst, quartz, Garnet, and aquamarine production accounted for a combined total of 547,158.15 kilograms in 2018 compared to 1,446,488.22 kilograms in 2017. The lower numbers reported reflect poor compliance in submission of mineral returns by small scale miners,” the report says.
The report says seven auctions of Zambian emeralds were held in 2018 in both domestic and international markets.
Low grade auctions raised revenue of US$ 21.69 million while mixed grade auctions raised US$33.8 million.
High grade auctions resulted in sales amounting to US$ 42.9 million.
The report says this translated into sales of US$98.4 million in 2018, which was a marginal increase from US$ 33.8 million in 2017.
The report says gold output in 2018 declined by 18.3 percent to 3.730 kilograms from 4,565 kilogrammes in 2017.