In A memo to President Banda , I mentioned briefly some of the challenges facing the new President. I thought a new series is in order to expand on these. The first is falling copper prices, which are expected to track the global slowdown and may not rebound until early 2010, with significant consquences for the little revenue we get from copper and now appears to be hitting the start of some mining projects - as this piece illustrates).
Update (18/11/2008) : The Financial Times has a piece related to this - Copper’s fall takes shine off Zambia’s ambitions, where it notes : "At least five exploration projects have been mothballed", according to industry sources.
Global copper prices tumble (ZNBC News 17/11/08) : Newly appointed Mines Minister Maxwell Mwale is Monday scheduled to meet Chief Executive officers of all mining companies. The Mines Minister will discuss how the economic global crisis is affecting mining operations in Zambia.
Mr. Mwale says during the meeting, stakeholders will also discuss how the slump in global copper prices has affected copper production in the Southern African nation.
On Sunday, the prices of copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) reduced from 3800 united states per tonne to 3600 per tonne. The fall in metal prices has caused animosity in the local mining sector with some mine contractors being forced to reduce their labour force.
In other instances, mining conglomerates such as the Canadian International Copper Systems which was carrying out exploration works at Mokambo in Mufulira District have suspended their activities. Mine suppliers and contractors have further expressed worry at the fall in copper prices calling for remedial measures.