Over the weekend, Glencore’s Zambian Mopani Copper Mines unit suspended operations in certain areas after the country’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) restricted power supply to its sites in both the Kitwe and Mufulira regions.
“In the interest of safety, Mopani has with immediate effect suspended operations in certain areas, and all our miners who were underground at the time of restricting power supply, have successfully returned to the surface,” the copper producer said in a statement made available to Reuters.
Mopani owns the Mufulira underground shaft in Mufulira, the Nkana underground shaft, South Ore Body shaft and the Mindola shaft in Kitwe, some of which have been starved of power recently.
The decision comes after a dispute over the implementation of new electricity tariffs, which Mopani and other mining companies have contested in court and remain unresolved, the miner said.
The southern African country, which is a major copper producer, is struggling to maintain power supplies as a severe drought has caused levels to drop in the Kariba Dam which generates much of the nation’s electricity, Reuters reported.