The Kitwe High Court has adjourned to Wednesday a matter in which Mopani Copper Mines is challenging Copperbelt Energy Corporation’s decision to restrict power supply.

In a statement, Mopani Public Relations Manager Nebert Mulenga said the matter could not proceed as planned yesterday because CEC sought an adjournment.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc wishes to confirm that power supply to our assets in both Kitwe and Mufulira remains restricted despite a court injunction ordering the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) to restore supply at the levels agreed in the Power Supply Agreement. We wish to further advise that the case hearing of the injunction and an application for leave to commence contempt proceedings, which was scheduled for 09:00 hours this morning at the Kitwe High Court has been adjourned to Wednesday 30 August at 10:00 hours following a request from CEC’s legal representatives,” Mulenga stated.

“Mopani continues to pay its power tariffs in accordance with the existing contract and remains committed to negotiating with CEC and ZESCO in good faith. However, without a reliable power supply, we are unable to conduct our operations safely nor maintain our workforce. Mopani is proud to be one of the largest investors in Zambia’s mining sector, having committed over USD$ 4 billion since 2000. Since 2014, Mopani has invested over USD$1 billion in site expansions and upgrades to extend the life of mine by a further 25-30 years.”

He urged CEC to honor the power supply agreement which the two companies signed.

“This investment will help Zambia realise the full potential of its copper mining industry for decades to come, providing a secure platform for the Zambian industry to compete on a global scale. The investment will also help secure jobs, local procurement and much needed revenues for the Zambian government. We urge CEC to honour the power agreement that was signed with Mopani. CEC’s current inability to do so puts Mopani’s investment in Zambia at risk,” stated Mulenga.

Mopani has announced plans to lay off 4,700 employees should the standoff continue.