Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has lost 482 tonnes of copper output worth $3.3 million after Copperbelt Energy Corporation started restricting its power supply, KCM claimed on Tuesday.
KCM, owned by Britain’s Vedanta Resources, was forced to shut down its Nchanga concentrator on Saturday after Copperbelt Energy Corporation decision to restrict electricity supply over an unpaid bill.
“Shutting down the concentrator has in turn affected production at our Tailings Leach Plant, which depends on primary material from the concentrator,” KCM said in a statement.
The restriction of power supply was greatly impairing KCM’s production and profitability and may have implications for job security if prolonged, it said.
Copperbelt Energy Corp has said KCM refused to make payments for electricity it consumed between April 2014 and now, accumulating electricity bills totalling $44 million.
KCM last week lost a court application to stop Copperbelt, one of the biggest power suppliers to mines in Zambia, from cutting its electricity over the disputed bills.
KCM, which produced 160,000 tonnes of copper in 2013, also owns a smelter at Nchanga and a refinery at Nkana.
But if KCM makes $3.3 million in a few days, why are they failing to pay for power supply?