Vedanta Resources PLC (VED.L), the largest copper producer in Zambia, said on Monday its Zambian copper division (KCM) swung to a third-quarter EBITDA loss following a drop in copper prices and lower output.

EBITDA in Q3 moved to a $159.4 million loss, following an inventory writedown and provisional pricing adjustments, from a profit of 52.8 million in the year-earlier period.

Third-quarter revenues for KCM declined to $121.9 million from $232.1 million in the year-earlier period.

KCM produced 25,000 tonnes of copper cathode in the quarter, down from 38,000 tonnes, mainly due to the gradual ramp down of the existing Nkana smelter, where the operating costs are high, Vedanta said.

Management believes that following the successful ramp up of the Nchanga smelter, production of copper cathodes will improve in the fourth quarter, Vedanta said in a statement.

It also expects input costs to continue to decline in the fourth quarter.

Shares in Vedanta were down 2.1 percent at 572.5 pence at 0839 GMT.

(Reporting by Julie Crust; editing by Rosalba O'Brien) © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved