The Zambian government has projected annual copper production to hit 900,000 tons this year, up from 763,000 tons recorded in 2013, the Times of Zambia reported on Tuesday. Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma linked the projected rise to expansion projects by major mining companies in the last two years. "In terms of annual copper production, the country is on course to reach the 1,500,000 tons target by 2016 and this year copper output will be more than 900,000," he was quoted as saying by the paper. The Zambian minister said a number of greenfields projects, which have been on the cards over the years, will start production this year hence pushing production up. Investments in the energy sector such as power generation and updating would also contribute to an increase in copper production in the country this year, he added. Zambia, traditionally Africa's largest copper producer, was last year surpassed by the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, which produced 846, 000 tons of the metal compared to Zambia's 763, 000 tons.