THIS year copper output for Zambia could rise to 1.5 million tonnes due to increased mining units that are expected to start production in the , Stockbrokers Zambia has predicted.
And some economic experts have said the prediction is attainable because of increased investment in the mining sector, high demand of copper and the rising prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME).
The Stockbroker Zambia has predicted in its 2012 Review and 2013 Outlook that copper production would go up to 1.5 million tonnes in 2013.
This would be on the back of the development of Barrick Gold's new Chimiwungo pit, First Quantum (FQM)'s Kalumbila, and the new Trident projects as well as the Mulyashi Copper Mine.
The report states that the outlook for the Zambian economy would remain favourable owing to sustained expansion in agriculture, construction, mining and manufacturing sectors.
The large infrastructure developments in energy, transport and the health sectors would be highly dependent on the successful utilisation of the funds raised from the US$750million Eurobond issued last year, estimated to boost the growth by up to two per cent.
It states that agriculture is one of the main sectors that would play a big role in economic growth as it was estimated that it would create approximately 550,000 new jobs and the Government had allocated K1.9 trillion in this year's Budget to support the target.
Economists Noel Nkhoma and Mwilola Imakando said the demand for Zambian copper by major economies like China was high, thereby making it possible for the country to reach 1.5 million tonnes production.
They said there was an indication that more copper would be required in 2014 and going forward.
Mr Nkhoma further said the amount of investment pumped into the sector made it possible for the country to increase the copper output this year.
"So for me, there is every reason for the mining companies to be optimistic that they will be able to reach 1.5 million tonnes this year," Mr Nkhoma said.
Dr Imakando said the 1.5 million tonnes would be attainable if there would be no industrial unrest and only if workers were motivated to put in more effort.
"We will get there, all that is needed is to motivate the workers, so they can put in their very best," Dr Imakando said.
He said there was also need to ensure that the mines were given the necessary support so that they would be able to support the Government through paying taxes.