Kazakh Kazzinc to double copper capacity in 2010

Jan 21. Reuters. ALMATY

By Olga Orininskaya

* To upgrade lead facility
* Copper and lead projects to cost $700 mln

Kazakh Kazzinc to double copper capacity in 2010Kazakh metals firm Kazzinc said on Thursday it will launch a new copper facility this year with a capacity of 70,000 tonnes a year.

Kazzinc’s primary product is zinc but the company, which is controlled by Switzerland’s Glencore [GLEN.UL], also produces copper, lead, silver and gold. The firm competes with London-listed Kazakhmys (KAZ.L), which focuses on copper.

“Kazzinc’s main investment project in 2010 will be the launch of a new copper production facility at the Ust-Kamenogorsk metals combine with a base capacity of 70,000 tonnes of copper a year,” it said in a written response to questions from Reuters.

Kazzinc last year produced 301,104 tonnes of zinc, 79,041 tonnes of refined lead, 57,420 tonnes of copper, 231,259 Troy ounces of gold and 4.8 million Troy ounces of silver.

“Kazzinc does not plan to reduce production volumes in 2010,” the company said.

Kazzinc said it would also complete the upgrade of its lead facility this year and would spend a total of $700 million on copper and lead projects, to be financed partly by bank loans.

Several Kazakh metals producers cut output in 2009 after the slump in commodity prices but overall output started recovering by the end of last year.