Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cobalt output halted at Zambia's biggest producer

Zambia's largest cobalt producer Chambishi Metals Plc has stopped production of the metal because lower copper and cobalt prices mean it is not viable, the southern African country's mines minister said on Monday.

However, Maxwell Mwale said the government was assessing options to ensure the troubled Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM) does not shut its underground Baluba copper mine and will facilitate fresh investment to shore up the company.

"The smelter at Chambishi has been shut down because the high costs of production are not economical at the current copper and cobalt prices, but underground operations at Luanshya mine have continued and as government we want this to continue," Mwale told Reuters.

LCM operates Chambishi as well as the Baluba copper mine.