HomeBase MetalsZambian mines escape further power cuts

Zambian mines escape further power cuts

Run-of-mine feed
on conveyer feeding
the mill at Bwana
Mkubwa in Zambia
Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 June 2008 – The supply of power to mines in Zambia will continue without change, while power rationing to domestic consumers will be cut further, following a technical fault that has disrupted electricity imports from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Reporting from here, Reuters quotes Zambia power utility Zesco senior public relations manager Monica Chisela as saying Zambia has been unable to secure power imports from the DRC for more than a week following a technical glitch.

“The Congo line has been off for about one week now, and we only hope it can be restored as soon as possible. Meanwhile, accepting that the mines are critical loads, other consumers should anticipate increased load shedding," she reveals.

Chisela adds that Zesco is also shutting down one 180-megawatt (MW) power generating machine at the hydro-electric Kariba North Bank power station for about a week for routine maintenance, and that this would lead to more rationing of power.

Chamber of Mines of Zambia (CMZ) president, Nathan Chishimba says none of the mines have complained of power problems since the imports from DRC stopped. “To best of my knowledge no one has complained. We believe that the Copperbelt Energy Company, which receives its power from Zesco, has a good load management strategy," he adds.

Zambia has been rationing power supply to the mining industry – the country’s economic lifeblood – since January.

Reuters quotes official data as showing that Zesco generates 1 190 MW, while peak national demand is 1 400 MW. The state firm expects to increase generation by 660 MW by early 2009 from a project for the rehabilitation of upgraded machines.