HONE SIAME, Lusaka
MOPANI Copper Mines has suspended its production operations in Kitwe and Mufulira following restriction of power to the mine.
The mining giant has since sent all its workers at the two production stations home until the matter is fully resolved, Mopani said in a statement issued by the public relations unit yesterday.
Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) buys power on wholesale from Zesco Limited and re-sells it to the mines on the Copperbelt.
It recently revised the tariffs, which prompted the mines to take the matter to court.
“Despite an injunction being granted by the courts of law on Friday, 11th August 2017, power has not yet been restored to our assets. This relates to the implementation of new electricity tariffs, which Mopani and other mining companies have contested in court and the courts of law are yet to resolve the matter,” the statement reads in part.
Mines are one of the biggest employers on the Copperbelt, with more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in their books.
Mopani, the copper-mining giant had this year started re-employing some of its members of staff who were released following a slump in copper prices and inadequate power supply in 2015.
“While awaiting the determination of the matter in court, Mopani Copper Mines Plc has continued to consistently pay the tariffs as stipulated in the existing legal contract with CEC.”
“All our employees in affected operations are now being sent home. They will continue to be paid as per their contracts. Further details will be communicated as appropriate,” the statement says.