Vedanta Resources-owned Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has closed its loss-making Nchanga underground mine in Zambia, putting it under care and maintenance.

The company’s latest decision comes due to the prevailing weak global demand for base metals.

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Sources said that KCM took the decision after reviewing its operations and found that it is a loss-making asset.

"Should operations continue at the mine, it is expected to result in the business losing $30m to $40m over 2016."

Should operations continue at the mine, it is expected to result in the business losing $30m to $40m over 2016.

KCM said that the mine was closed after consulting with labour unions, and the decision will make almost 2,500 contractors redundant.

Meanwhile, the company will carry out a technical review of the mine to come out with a solution to bring the operations back into production once the market conditions improve.

The exploration at the mine started in 1923, and faced similar halting of operations due to flooding and low copper prices in 1931. Mining at Nchanga operations resumed in 1937. Surface mining operations from the Nchanga open-pit started in 1957.

Nchanga’s mining operations consist of an underground mine, the Nchanga open-pit and other satellite pits, refractory ore stockpiles and tailing dams.

The mine pumps out about 75,000m³ of water per day.