Mineral production, dominated by copper, has long been Zambia’s largest non-agricultural sector in terms of economic output
- Production volumes experienced a decline from a peak of 700,000 tonnes at independence to only 221,000 tonnes by the year 2000
- but these recovered rapidly following privatisation in the late 1990s
- Zambia is still a big player in global supply but its market share has not recovered to the levels seen in the 1970s. Its global rankings have slipped from 5th,4th and 5th in mining, refining and smelting respectively back in 1975 to 6th,6th and 10th today.
There are doubts regarding the correct numbers – hence, the Mineral Value Chain Monitoring Project, recently commissioned by ZRA.
- The numbers shown in the graphic use International Copper Study Group data for the later years and US Geological survey data for earlier years.
- There is a strong suggestion that the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) data seriously overstate the true values. Data from both Wood McKenzie (2012) and the International Copper Study Group show copper production at 672,000 tonnes by 2011 before falling slightly in 2012. These numbers compare with a figure in excess of 800,000 tonnes if one uses only the BoZ data.
- The key point is that production levels (tonnes) have definitely recovered strongly since about 1999.