Zambia's president has directed state-run Zesco Ltd to spare mines from excessive power rationing to avoid disrupting output in Africa's No. 2 copper producer, a presidency spokesman said on Monday.
"Under the power supply agreements with the mines, Zesco can cut supply by up to 30 percent but the president does not want that to happen," spokesman Amos Chanda told Reuters.
"The president has directed that the mines should be considered under essential services and operations to avoid disrupting production."
Zambia, Africa's No.2 copper producer, plans to cut power supplies to mines by up to 30 percent as early as this week after water levels at its hydro-electric projects dropped due to drought. [ID:nL8N0ZN2O2]
Chamber of Mines of Zambia President Jackson Sikamo told Reuters that following a meeting last week mining companies had examined their operations to see what could be cut.
"A further meeting will be held tomorrow to finalise the actual reductions which will be effected," Sikamo said.
Zambia will begin importing power and bring forward the construction of new generation plants to stem electricity shortages that threaten mining output.