16 August 2017

Zambia: Govt Won't Be Blackmailed Over Power Tariffs - Mabumba

The Government has warned it will not be 'blackmailed' by mining companies that are still hesitating to pay for power under the revised tariffs.

Energy Minister David Mabumba disclosed yesterday that apart from Mopani Copper Mines - which on Monday announced the suspension of operations at its mines in Mufulira and Kitwe as a result of the stand-off over power with suppliers, Zesco and CEC - Kansanshi and Kalumbila (both owned by First Quantum Mines) were the other miners resisting the new tariffs.

Kalumbila and Kansanshi mines officials were expected to hold a meeting with Zesco yesterday afternoon to iron out their differences, on the day that Mopani obtained a court injunction restraining ZESCO and CEC from restricting power supply to the mining firm until the matter is fully determined by the court.

At a joint Press briefing with his Information and Broadcasting Services counterpart Kampamba Mulenga in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Mabumba said it was unfair for mining companies not to pay for power at the revised tariffs when domestic consumers were doing so.

He wondered why the three mining firms were still resisting paying for power at the revised rate of US Cents 9.3 per kilowatt hour at a time when copper prices had improved on the international market and Government had met most of their requests before adjusting the tariffs.

"I want to appeal to those mines that are not yet paying that they should go and engage CEC, they should go and engage Zesco so that they pay because there is no one person who's going to be given special consideration. If our domestic customers are paying, why should they be subsidising industries? I think it would be very unfair," the minister said.

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