Anglo-Swiss mining company Glencore International plans to increase its cobalt production by two-fold through its Zambian unit Mopani Copper Mines.

The company expects to produce 7,000 metric tons of cobalt at Nkana cobalt pant from the current production capacity of 2,800 tons, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Glencore spokesperson Cephas Sinyangwe was quoted by the news agency as saying that the company had invested $27m to upgrade operations at the plant.

"The upgrade will also improve the quality of the metal produced. Additionally and more importantly, this investment will secure and sustain more than 300 jobs," added Sinyangwe.

The company had made an investment of nearly $2bn for its Zambian assets to improve the facilities that were earlier on the verge of collapsing due to the sharp fall in copper prices in 2002.

Glencore currently boasts of a production capacity of 200,000 tons of finished copper per year.