Zambia remains one of the fastest-growing reﬁned copper producers in the world, backed by strong domestic smelting capacity, rising mining output and ongoing government support, says BMI Research.
Zambia will remain a regional leader and an important global player in reﬁned copper production over the coming years, it adds.
Unlike other markets in the region, most copper mined in Zambia is reﬁned locally before being exported. With an estimated output of 58 200 t of reﬁned copper this year, Zambia’s downstream copper production is the largest in Africa.
“Our forecast for Zambian copper mine output to witness considerable growth this year will feed into downstream services, further supporting short-term refined production. Our outlook for Zambia's mining sector in 2018 remains positive, as copper prices continue to rise and the country's electricity supplies improves,” BMI says.
While copper prices have suffered a decline in recent weeks, driven by heightening trade war tensions, BMI maintains its bullish copper price forecast of $7 000/t for this year. It further expects a persistent global undersupply to keep prices on an upward trajectory.
In the longer term, government support for ongoing economic diversification through the development of a value-added downstream copper industry, will provide further tailwinds to refined production in the country.
As part of Zambia's seventh National Development Plan for 2017 to 2021 and Vision 2030, the government will aim to promote local and foreign participation higher up the value chain through the manufacturing of finished copper goods for use in the electrical, automotive, plumbing and aquaculture industries, besides others.
“As a result, we expect the downstream copper industry's share of domestic gross domestic product to gradually increase over the coming years, while the contribution of raw mining to the total economy declines.”