Power outages disrupt Zambian mine operations

By Hicks Sikazwe

Mining operations on the Copperbelt were severely hit and disrupted by power outages caused by suspected faults at zesco substations in Kitwe and Luano.

The supply that ceased around 19 hours on Monday running through to Tuesday has left after effects in the country’s key foreign exchange earning industry.

Though Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) had some imported emergency power for key areas in Chingola and Chililabombwe some outlets were flooded with fears that it may take three days to pump out the water.

KCM spokesperson Shapi Shachinda told local media production at underground mines at both Chingola and Chililabombwe outlets ceased as a result of the power black out.

KCM received 46 megawatts from the Copperbelt Energy Corporation for emergency in key areas which was imported from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but it was inadequate.

Residents   contacted in Chingola said by 0800hours on Tuesday supply were not still restored in the townships. In Ndola the city remained in a black out with continued   intermittent outages on Tuesday night.

In Mufulira though there was some emergency supply in some outlets in the plant the entire mining town was blacked out throughout Monday night and the most part of the Tuesday.

Mopani Copper Mines had to quickly evacuate hundreds of workers from various underground spots as the loss of power crippled operations.

Luanshya, Copper Mine was also affected with company spokesperson Sydney Chileya revealing to local media the firm lost there shifts.

The standby emergency power supply from diesel generators was only meant to ensure ventilation was not blocked.

Chambishi Mine immediately activated standby generators to facilitate the evacuation of miners from underground.

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