The Zambian Government has said threatened to revoke China-based CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines’ mining licence if the company does not bring back workers who were sent on forced leave.
On 7 September, the mining company announced its decision to halt production at its Baluba Mine citing low copper prices.
The company also said it would place the mine under care and maintenance due to rising costs and an energy crisis.
Following its decision, the company sent more than 1,600 mine workers on leave.
Government spokesman Chishimba Kambwili asked the company to withdraw its decision, stating that job losses were unacceptable.
Reuters reported the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Nkole Chishimba as saying that the company took the decision without consulting the union.
CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines is 15% owned by ZCCM-IH, with China Nonferrous Metals Company owning the remaining 85%.
In a separate announcement, Zambia said it would negotiate with Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines’ plan to suspend operations following a fall in the metal’s price.
The mining industry in Zambia is currently witnessing an electricity shortage and declining copper prices, threatening output and jobs in the country.
The country’s harsh business environment is compelling mining companies such as Glencore, Vedanta Resources and NFC Africa and CNMC Luanshya Copper Mine to close some of their operations, the news agency said.