KCM workers’ lives in danger

THE safety of employees of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and job security is being compromised following the restriction of power supply to the mine, says KCM

The Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has restricted power supply to KCM following a commercial dispute between the two parties.

This follows High Court Judge Eddie Sikazwe’s September 16 ruling in which he lifted an order of interim protection in which KCM had applied that CEC be restrained from disconnecting or interrupting electricity supply to the mining giant. KCM Public Relations and Communications Manager Shapi Shachinda said the dispute followed CEC’s unilateral increase in power tariffs since April 2014 contrary to the provisions of the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) between KCM and CEC.

Mr Shachinda said CEC has also been refusing to generate invoices based on electricity tariffs agreed through the PSA to facilitate payments of bills by KCM for power supplied to the mine.

Mr Shachinda said the operations of the Nchanga Integrated Business Unit (IBU) have already been grossly affected by the CEC’s restricted power supply to the giant mining company.

“KCM would like to inform its stakeholders that the Copperbelt Energy Company (CEC) has started to restrict power supply to KCM following a commercial dispute between the two parties.

“The dispute follows CEC’s unilateral increase in power tariffs since April 2014 contrary to the provisions of the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) between KCM and CEC. The CEC has also been refusing to generate invoices based on electricity tariffs agreed through the PSA to facilitate payments of bills by KCM for power supplied to the mine.

“The restriction in power supply will adversely affect Konkola Copper Mines’ operations and compromise safety of the employees and job security. The operations of the Nchanga integrated business unit have already grossly been affected,” Mr Shachinda said.

He said it should be noted that prior to April 2014, CEC had increased power tariffs by over 100% in accordance with the PSA and this had resulted in KCM having the highest power tariffs in the mining industry in Zambia.

He said KCM was now paying more than K700 million (rebased currency) per year in electricity tariffs. He said KCM regretted that CEC had chosen not to pursue this matter in accordance with the PSA provisions on dispute resolution.

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