Africa Mining vs Power: Zambia’s CEC to restore full power to Glencore copper mines


Image of Nkana pit and headgear at Glencore Mopani complex by Per Arne Wilson

Zambian electricity utility Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) and Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines have reached an agreement to restore full power supply to the mine from Wednesday, the president’s office said on Wednesday. 

Details of the agreement, which was facilitated by the government, will be finalised over a six-week period, presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said in a statement.

CEC, which buys power from the state-owned electricity company and sells it to mines, cut supply to Mopani to 94 megawatts (MW) from 130 MW after a dispute over new tariffs.

Mopani last week said that the power supply restrictions had put its investments at risk and warned that it might lay off 4,700 staff because of the cuts.

“Mopani will today inform labour unions that negotiations are taking place in good faith and therefore there was no cause for panic,” presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said in Wednesday’s statement confirming that power supply was being restored.

The government in April announced a proposal introducing a flat tariff of 9.30 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) backdated to January for mining companies, instead of individually negotiated rates that have averaged 6 U.S. cents/kWh.

Negotiations between government, power suppliers and mining companies over the proposed tariffs have been taking place since November last year.

Mopani has a total workforce of 15,000 employees and produced 129,000 tonnes of finished copper in 2016. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by David Goodman)


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