Mopani Copper Mines Public Relations Manager Nebert Mulenga says management is working tirelessly to resolve the power crisis and workers must remain calm.
Meanwhile, government has restored normal power supply to First Quantum Minerals operated mines after agreeing on a way forward after two-day discussions.
Yesterday, some Mopani employees told News Diggers! that they had been warned of a possible shut down because of the power tariff standoff with Copperbelt Energy Corporation.
“Things are don’t seem to be getting any better even after the court case was adjourned today (yesterday). The Human Resource Manager Mr Maeya addressed the union at central office and told them that their members prepare themselves in mind and financials to accept whatever will come. That if CEC can’t review the adjustments of tariffs, then Mopani will stop the all operations and put the mine on care and maintenance,” one of the workers said.
But in an interview today, Mulenga said management had not made such a warning.
“I have seen that story and I don’t know where you got the information from. No statement was made regarding the possible shutdown of operations. We are working closely with the relevant authorities to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” Mulenga said.
He also advised employees to remain calm and avoid panicking as the situation was being handled.
“In the meantime, we call upon our employees to remain calm and not panic because the situation is being handled,” said Mulenga.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement with Finance Minister Felix Mutati, Energy Minister David Mabumba announced that government and FQM had agreed on a way forward.
“The Government of the Republic of Zambia and First Quantum Minerals (FQM) have concluded high-level discussions on electricity supply and migration to the new power tariff structure. Among the issues discussed was the quality of electricity supply to FQM Operated Mines and the restriction of ZESCO power supply. At the conclusion of the two-day high-level talks on Friday 18th August, 2017, it was resolved and agreed by all parties involved in the discussions that: 1. FQM Operated Mines will be deemed to have migrated to the new tariff structure with effect from January, 2017; and, 2. The Government, through ZESCO, will put in place measures to ensure continuous, stable and full supply of power to FQM Operated Mines, including importation of power from alternative suppliers,” stated the ministers.
“Arising from these resolutions, normal power supply has been restored to the FQM Operated Mines. FQM was represented during the meetings held in Lusaka by Matt Pascal – Director of Operations, Hannes Meyer – Chief Financial Officer, and John Dean – Commercial Manager, while the Government was represented Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Finance, and Zesco.”