On The Neighbourhood: Zambia minister urges dialogue over mine power dispute


Zambia’s energy minister on Monday called for dialogue between Copperbelt Energy Corp and Vedanta Resources to end a power supply dispute that has paralysed the British mining company’s operations.

Copperbelt Energy on Sunday cut power to Vedanta’s Konkola mine for all but essential operations such as water pumping, ventilation and the operation of medical facilities.

“Zambia’s copper production will go down with this restriction and Copperbelt Energy should sit down with Konkola so that our economy does not suffer,” Energy ministerChristopher Yaluma told state radio.

Copperbelt said on Monday Konkola had refused to make payments for the electricity it consumed between April 2014 to date, accumulating electricity bills totaling about $44-million.

Konkola last week lost a court application to stop Copperbelt, one of the biggest power suppliers to mines in Zambia, from cutting its electricity over the disputed bills.

Konkola, which produced 160 000 t of copper in 2013, also owns a tailings leach plant, a smelter at Nchanga and a refinery at Nkana. (By Reuters)

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