Africa Mining: Zambia’s Konkola mine halts operations due to high voltage cables theft

Zambia Konkola MineZambia’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) said on Tuesday it was halting operations indefinitely at its Nchanga underground mine (NUG) in Chingola state due to theft of high voltage cables.

Konkola, a subsdiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc , said it had also evacuated its 991 workers. The company said the theft occurred after midnight on Tuesday when night shift workers suffered a sudden power outage at the ventilation shaft.

It was later discovered that at least nine high-voltage copper cables at the 11 kilovolt substation had been cut off and stolen.

The Nchanga open pit mine is the second largest open cast mine in the world.

In a statement, Konkola said it was the second such incident in a fortnight, following the theft of 200 metres of high-voltage cabling.

Africa’s number two copper miner saw production rise to 770,000 tonnes in 2016 from 711,000 tonnes in 2015, below the Zambian government’s target of 1 million tonnes largely due to restricted power supply.

In June Zambia said is expected copper production in 2017 to rise to 850,000 tonnes. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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