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Zambia utility cuts power to copper mine over unpaid bill

Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation has cut down power supply to the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) after a dispute over electricity bills, the mining company told Reuters at the weekend.

Konkola last week lost a court application to stop Copperbelt Energy, one of the biggest power suppliers to mines in Africa’s second largest copper producer, from cutting its electricity over a disputed, unpaid US$44 million bill.

“Konkola Copper Mines would like to inform its stakeholders that Copperbelt Energy has started to restrict power supply to KCM following a commercial dispute between the two parties,” it said in a statement.

“The restriction in power supply will adversely affect Konkola Copper Mines’ operations and compromise safety of the employees and job security,” the company added.

Operations at Konkola’s Nchanga integrated business unit had already been affected, it said.

Copperbelt Energy lawyer Chishimba Lamba said his company had notified Konkola of its intention to restrict electricity supply to the mining firm from Sunday afternoon following the high court ruling, local media reported.