A copper mine in Zambia on Tuesday said the work of 4,700 miners would be in danger if a dispute on new electricity tariffs continues.

Last week, the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), which supplies electricity to the mines, suspended electricity supply to Mopani Copper Mines after the mine resisted paying for electricity under new tariffs. The move forced the mining firm, a unit of Glencore, to suspend some of its operations.

The mine said in a statement that it has become necessary to curtail some operations of the mine following the standoff over electricity tariffs.

“Although we shall work on optimizing the use of the limited power that we are receiving, we expect that we shall effectively have to close several areas and our scaled back operations may affect a total of 4,700 direct employees,” the mining firm said in the statement.

It however added that it was engaging with the unions and other stakeholders on how to mitigate the effects of the unavoidable course of action, adding that negotiations with the power firm have been ongoing.

According to the statement, the move to curtail some operations was due to the power firm’s unilateral action to restrict power supply without notice and against a power supply agreement.

The Zambian government has urged the two parties to resolve their differences before the end of this week.

Minister of Energy David Mabumba acknowledged that the mining firm was losing about 3 million U.S. dollars every day following the restriction of power supply.

Mopani is one of the largest investors in Zambia’s mining sector and has committed over 4 billion dollars since 2000 in its operations. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh