HomeBase MetalsZambian copper mines cut power usage

Zambian copper mines cut power usage

Aerial view of the
high pressure leach
facility at Kansanshi
mine, in north-west
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 June 2008 – Zambia’s top copper producer – Vedanta Resources Plc’s Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) – has cut power usage by 12% during peak periods without affecting production.
Bloomberg News reports that company spokesman Sam Equamo confirmed in an e-mailed statement from here that KCM had scheduled its operations to work within this requirement without adversely affecting production.

Mining companies operating in Zambia have agreed to an appeal by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation to cut non-essential electricity usage during peak hours to help prevent power failures that may affect production. The appeal follows the disruption of power supplies to Zambia as a result of supply problems from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the isolation of a generator at one of the hydropower stations belonging to state-owned power producer Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco).

Power consumption in Zambia – Africa’s biggest copper producer – has increased by 70% in the past five years, according to Zesco. Demand from the cobalt and copper miners is expected to double again by 2009, it said. The southern African country doesn’t generate enough power to meet demand and depends on imports from neighbors for the shortfall.

Chambishi Metals Plc and Luanshya copper mines have reduced power consumption during peak periods to ensure copper and cobalt production is sustained, CEO Derek Webbstock told Bloomberg in a telephone interview from the mining town of Chambishi.

Bwana Mkubwa Mine Plc is operating normally having reduced normal loads, operations manager Andre Scott said by phone from Ndola, and First Quantum Minerals spokesman Godfrey Msiska said the company’s Kansanshi mine has also reduced peak-hour consumption without affecting output.

Mopani Copper Mines Plc CEO Emmanuel Mutati said he could not comment on the matter as he was out of the country, when Bloomberg News reached him by phone.