Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 09 June 2008 – Lumwana Mining Co. Ltd. (LMC) in north-western Zambia aims to start producing its first copper concentrates by the end of July despite the power problems being experienced in the country.
LMC chief operating officer Harry Michael said in an interview here with Reuters that the commissioning phases of the mine were progressing on schedule despite Zambia’s power problems, as these phases did not consume as much power as actual production.
"We are using relatively small amounts of power for commissioning and we are hoping that by late July we will start producing our first copper concentrates," Michael told Reuters.
He said Lumwana – which will be Africa’s largest copper mine – would produce 169 000 tonnes of copper concentrate annually during the first five years of mining.
Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corp. (CEC), which supplies power to the country’s copper and cobalt mines, has cut back supply following disruptions in electricity imports.
Like othercountries in southern Africa, Zambia has been hit by a power shortage and has been rationing electricity to the mining industry — the country’s economic lifeblood — since January.
CEC managing director Neil Croucher said a generating machine that was switched off at Zambia’s hydro electric Kariba North Bank power station was re-activated on Saturday but another generator had been switched off at Kafue Gorge power station.
"We are currently getting only 40 megawatts from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) instead of about 140 megawatts. The 180-megawatt Kariba North Bank machine is back in operation, but the 90 megawatt machine at Kafue Gorge is now being checked," he confirmed.
The CEC had to cut back its normal supply of 530 mega watts by about 15%.