Lumwana Mining Company Limited (LMC) is targeting to hit at least 107,000 metric tonnes of copper this year following its record-breaking output achieved in the first quarter of 2019.

Speaking during the mining company’s maiden quarterly press briefing at the mine site, Tuesday, LMC process manager Robert Kanyika told journalists that the mining giant was on course to hit at least 107,000 tonnes this year after achieving record-breaking copper output of 61.5 million pounds, or equivalent to around 27,895 tonnes during the first quarter.

“We are going to have over 100,000 tonnes of copper; in our language, 237 million pounds (107,501 tonnes) of copper, that’s what we have scheduled to produce this year,” Kanyika said.

He explained that the mining giant had ramped up production this year to ensure it stayed on course to hit its output target.

“As the process plant as Lumwana, for 2019, we have focused on pushing the highest tonnage that has never been pushed in this mine. To do that, we have put up a strategy in the mining site where we have procured bigger machines – the PC8,000, that’s a very big shovel, and we have also procured five dump trucks and also embarked on upgrading the existing trucks that are 230 tonnes to 290,” he said.

And asked what the key driving factors were in Lumwana recording reduced copper output last year of 101,890 tonnes from 116,170 tonnes in 2017, Kanyika explained that the company’s crusher had developed a fault, which led to lower output.

“We had challenges last year, which we have overcome; the major challenge we had last year for almost the whole of the first quarter was the crusher, which broke down and gave us that drop. But we resolved it. After resolving that, towards the end of the year in the last quarter, our production was up just like we have done in the first quarter this year,” replied Kanyika.

Meanwhile, LMC general manager David Baumgartel hailed the company’s copper production results achieved during 2019 so far.

He noted that production results exceeded expectations.

“March was a good month in terms of production. We produced 18.8 million pounds of copper to finish the month up on budget by 4.1 million pounds. For the quarter, we produced 61.5 million pounds and are 3.2 million pounds up on budget. Well done and thank you to everyone!” stated Baumgartel in his monthly update.

“I want to recognise the fact that the process team achieved the highest quarterly tonnage in the history of Lumwana – 6.2 Mt processed. This puts us well on track to meet our budgeted tonnes processed of 24 Mt for the year, which has never been achieved at Lumwana.”