Glencore’s Zambian subsidiary, Mopani Copper Mines, is set to cut around 4,700 jobs in light of frequent electricity supply issues causing disruptions to its operations.
The development comes after Copperbelt Energy reduced power supply to Mopani following disputes over tariff.
Mopani refused to pay an increased tariff for power supplied by Copperbelt, claiming that the rise in price is not in accordance with the agreement signed between the parties.
Mopani Copper Mines was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Although we shall work on optimising the use of limited power that we are receiving, we expect that we shall effectively have to close several areas and our scaled back operations may affect a total of 4,700 direct employees.”
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) of Zambia approved state-owned power company ZESCO’s application for an increase in power tariff, in view of rising operational costs and higher prices for electricity procured from private producers under power purchase agreements.
As of March this year, Mopani invested more than $4bn towards modernising its mine, extending the lifespan from 25 to 30 years.
The company is expected to bring three new shafts into operation in order to more than double its copper ore mining output from the existing 3.8 million tonnes per annum to nine million tonnes by 2020.