The Zambian unit of Vedanta Resources had suspended operations at its Nchanga copper mine after a power cut triggered flooding, Konkola Copper Mines said last week.

An unspecified number of underground workers were rescued after being trapped. Konkola had suffered ‘massive financial losses’ because of the suspension, it said.

Power restored

Power supply has since been restored by Copperbelt Energy Corp, ending a week-long supply restriction stemming from a dispute over an unpaid bill.

“It is our hope that in response to this show of good faith, KCM will pay all its outstanding bills and begin to pay all their future bills as they fall due,” Copperbelt Energy said in a statement on Friday.

KCM is owned by Britain’s Vedanta Resources.

Dispute over tariffs

Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), which supplies most mines in Zambia, started reducing power to Konkola’s operations a little more than a week ago because of a dispute over payments and tariffs.

CEC had deepened the cuts, Konkola said. The Vedanta unit said earlier it had lost about 482 tonnes of copper output worth $3.3 million.

Konkola made a loss of $89 million in the year to March, when it produced 177 018 tonnes of copper.

Zambia’s energy minister on Thursday told the two firms to end the stand-off, which KCM said was impairing its production and profitability and could have had implications for job security if prolonged.

 

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