First Quantum shuts Zambia process plant over power supply cuts

Thu Jul 30, 2015 3:34am EDT
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LUSAKA, July 30 (Reuters) - Canada's First Quantum Minerals has shut its Sentinel copper processing plant after Zambia reduced electricity supply to its operations by 24 percent, the company said.

Zambian power utility Zesco Ltd is limiting supplies, including to mining companies, after water levels at its hydro-electric plants dropped due to drought.

"Sentinel process plant has been closed since July 27, 2015. Various options to alleviate the effect on production are being evaluated," First Quantum said in second quarter results late on Wednesday.

"Agreement has been reached to redirect the majority of Sentinel's power allocation to enable Kansanshi to operate close to full capacity, while delaying the ramp-up at Sentinel."

Kansanshi mine was earlier projected to produce 250 to 265 tonnes of finished copper while the Sentinel was expected to produce up to 100,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate in 2015. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Jon Boyle)