Zambia minister urges dialogue over mine power dispute

by Reuters 0

Power play in Mozambique Nigeria's electricity shortages persist and the underperformance is a major political issue.

According to the minister the dispute had 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 minister Christopher Yaluma told state radio.

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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 US dollars.

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 tonnes of copper in 2013, also owns a tailings leach plant, a smelter at Nchanga and a refinery at Nkana.