Mopani Copper Mines has announced plans to cease operations at Mindola North and Central shafts saying the company has no resources to keep the ineffective operations going.

In a notice to mine contractors dated May 20, Mopani Supply chain manager Sindiso Sichone stated that stopping operations at the two shafts had always been part of the plan.

“We refer to the management brief to all employees on 10 May 2019 where we shared the status of the company and the decision to cease operations at Mindola North and Central shafts. As you may be aware, we have had a very challenging start to the year. Overall, Mopani’s performance in terms of output and costs has been poor in the last few months, worsened by unanticipated smelter breakdowns that have led to serious production losses,” Sichone wrote.

“A review of the operations has identified the areas that we need to address to ensure that we have an operation that is safe, provides return on investment and long term benefits for all stakeholders. Mopani has met with the relevant government ministries to provide an update on safely and the necessary operational steps that need to be taken to ensure Mopani has a viable future.”

He stated that the company had limited resources.

“We are planning to cease operations at the Mopani North and Central shafts whilst focussing on our essential capital projects. These include the synclinorium concentrator, Mufulira Henderson shaft and the Mindolo deeps shaft. The closure has always been part of the plan as we commissioned the new shaft. However, the action has been brought forward from the original plan because the company has limited resources and can no longer afford to operate these old and inefficient shafts. The closure of these two uneconomic shafts allows us to apply the funds provided by Glencore towards the completion of the expansion project which represents the future of the company and Mopani mining on the Copperbelt. We believe this approach will enable us to not only secure the future of Mopani but will allow us to focus on achieving both safe and productive outcomes,” stated Sichone.