Mopani Reports $298 Million Loss as Copper Production Declines

Mopani Reports $298 Million Loss as Copper Production Declines

Zambian copper miner Mopani has released its annual financial statements, revealing a loss of $298 million (K5.26 billion). This represents a significant increase from the previous year’s loss of $74.2 million at the state-owned mine.

The loss came as copper production dropped to 72,694 tonnes (t) over the year, down from 87,618t in the previous year. Mopani attributed the lower production levels to a 45-day shutdown of the smelter at its Mufulira site, one of its two locations in Zambia’s copper belt. The shutdown was necessary for maintenance, refurbishment of critical components, and replacement of refractory bricks.

Meanwhile, the Zambian government is currently in the process of selecting a buyer for Mopani. Four companies, including South African miner Sibanye-Stillwater, have been shortlisted. Rothschild & Co bank, responsible for managing the mine’s sale, is expected to announce the final selection before the end of July. The bank was hired to facilitate the mine’s sale in 2022, just over a year after it was initially sold to state-run copper company ZCCM by Swiss giant Glencore for $1.5 billion.

Despite being one of Africa’s largest copper producers, Zambia has experienced a decline in copper production since 2020. In 2020, the country produced 869,060t of copper, which dropped to 800,700t in 2021 and 796,230t in 2022.

The Zambian government aims to increase copper production in the country to three million tonnes per year by 2032. Expansions to Mopani’s operations are expected to contribute to this goal, enabling the company to produce an additional 200,000 tonnes of copper per year starting from 2027. However, Mopani highlighted the need to secure over $300 million in funding to complete the expansion project within the projected three years, as well as an additional $150 million for capital sustainment over the same period.

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