FILE PHOTO: Bright Mutambo of Konkola Copper Mines PLC, works in Nchanga mine in Cingola, Zambia.
INTERNATIONAL - Zambia's copper production is set to fall by a massive 100,000 tons this year, an industry body said on Monday.

Production in Africa's second largest producer of the red metal will decline from 860,000 tons produced last year to about 750,000 tons this year, according to the Zambia Chamber of Mines.

"This is a distant continental second behind the Democratic Republic of Congo who trailed our volumes for 75 years until 2013 and now forecast above 1, 200 million tons of production in 2019. Meanwhile, it is likely that our own industry will drop-off the global top ten copper producers list," said Sokwani Chilembo, the body's chief executive officer.

He noted that the current tax regime in the country has made Zambia slip into reverse gear and that the government will look it the jarring downturn in industry performance as it considers the 2020 national budget.

According to him, the Zambian mining industry has been battling to sustain production levels, to contain cost escalation and to maintain asset quality after over a decade of near biennial tax burden increases.

In addition, he said, non-tax revenue measures have rapidly accumulated and that electricity tariff increments have not been informed by an industry cost of service study to benchmark what the cost of electricity for bulk consumers.

The Chamber has already submitted detailed mining tax proposals which aim to resuscitate the Zambian mining sector by putting in place a competitive, stable and investor friendly measures, he added.