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Zambian copper mines resume production

Ore on the conveyor
system at Bwana
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 June 2010 – Copper mines in Zambia “’ Africa’s top producer of the metal “’ have resumed output after a nationwide blackout halted production last week, the country’s mines minister told Reuters in a weekend interview.

Power blackouts are frequent in Zambia, and are a concern for the foreign companies that own most of the major mines in the mineral-rich Copperbelt province.

“The mines resumed output after the power was restored. It is obvious that production came down but they are still assessing the losses,” mines minister Maxwell Mwale said. A fault at a hydro power station triggered the blackout across the southern African nation.

Production has resumed at the Lumwana mine owned by Australia’s Equinox Minerals and the Bwana Mkubwa plant and Kansanshi mines owned by Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, officials at the three facilities told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear if output had resumed at London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc’s Konkola Copper Mines “’ the country’s biggest copper operation.

A spokesman for Bwana Mkubwa said some equipment had been damaged. “A lot of our electrical equipment was damaged because of unstable supply when the power was restored, but we are yet to calculate the full extent of the losses,” technical manager Andre Scott, told Reuters.