Coal
Over 4,700 Zambian miners face lay offs
- Copper mining giant's standoff over new electricity tariffs threatens thousands of jobs

The Zambian government has described a potential move by one of the country’s biggest copper miners to cut over 4,700 workers as an act of blackmail.

Mopani Copper Mine (MCM) claims Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) power cuts are making it lose over $3 million a day.

The CEC suspended power supply about a week ago, follow MCM’s refusal to pay new tariffs.

MCM now says it may be forced to make workers redundant to enable it to pay for a restoration of electricity to its operations.

However, mining minister David Mabumba told journalists the government would not allow MCM to dismiss workers over the power-supply issue:

"Instead of thinking of retrenching workers, MCM has an option of accepting paying for power using the new revised tariff.

“Alternatively, MCM can offer a payment plan and the CEC will restore electricity to the mine.

"The government considers the action of rushing to lay off workers as a solution to the problem as an act of blackmail which, unfortunately, will not be accepted."

The minister warned that any maneuver by MCM to implement its plan would result in government action, including revoking the company’s mining license.

MCP Public Relations Manager Norbert Mulenga told journalists the mine had no option but to go ahead and lay off the 4,700 workers as planned:

"The money which the company was scheduled to pay workers will be used to pay the CEC so that power is restored to the plants. It is only then that the company will resume operations."

According to the mine spokesperson, MCM is unable to resume operations because the CEC has vowed never to restore power supply until it receives payments.

By Obrain Mwiinga in Lusaka, Zambia

Anadolu Agency

energy@aa.com.tr

 

23 Aug,2017
COAL NEWS