Zesco and the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) should stop load shedding the mines and also work out means of importing electricity to cushion the impact of the power deficit on the mining companies to save jobs, Energy Minister Christopher Yaluma has directed.
The minister said this in the aftermath of a meeting at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) offices in Kitwe which was attended by Mr Yaluma, chief executive officers (CEOs) of mining companies, Zambia Chamber of Mines officials, Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) and Zesco.
Reading the resolution of the meeting, Mr Yaluma said it was agreed that Zesco and CEC should start importing electricity to cushion the power deficit being faced by the mining companies to enable them operate at their full capacity.
“We had a meeting with CEOs of mining companies, the Zambia Chamber of Mines and we agreed that CEC and Zesco should import and source power to reduce the impact of power deficit in the mining companies. We will continue meeting to see how we can improve power supply in the mines during this time,” Mr Yaluma said.
He said apart from Zesco and CEC importing and sourcing power to cushion the power deficit being faced by the mining companies, the meeting also resolved that Zesco should lift the power restrictions on Lumwana and First Quantum.
Zesco was yesterday expected to lift power restriction imposed on Lumwana and First Quantum to allow for the normalisation of operations at the mining companies. Two weeks ago, Zesco started restricting power to Lumwana and First Quantum, a development which affected the operations of its two mining companies. Mr Yaluma also said the meeting agreed to work out a tariff mechanism for the power which was there and the one to be imported by Zesco and CEC. “We also talked about the need for the assessment of the impact of the power deficit and the long term programmes,” he said
Mr Yaluma said there would be another meeting today to discuss how best to improve power supply in the mines and ensure that the operations of the mines were not affected by power restrictions.
“We will also know the impact of the power restriction problem so that Zesco and CEC could find a solution of trying to reduce the impact,” he said.
And Zambia Chamber of Mines president Jackson Sikamo said the meeting was held in an open and cordial environment, where people openly discussed the adverse effects of power restrictions.
“We will take serious the points discussed to see that the mining industry is not adversely affected by the power restrictions,” he said.