UPDATE 2-Zambia's CEC delays plan to cut power supply to mines

Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:38am EDT
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(Adds CEC comment)

By Chris Mfula

LUSAKA, July 31 (Reuters) - Zambia's power supplier Copperbelt Energy Corp. (CEC) has delayed a plan to reduce electricity to mines after firms warned they would have to close processing plants and shed jobs, a CEC spokesman said on Friday.

"It is expected that consultations will conclude over this weekend, following which necessary cutbacks, of up to 30 percent, would be effected," Chama Nsabika-Kalima said.

Zesco Ltd., the main electricity supplier in Africa's second biggest copper producer, is limiting supplies after water levels at its hydro-electric plants fell due to drought.

CEC buys electricity from Zesco in bulk and sells it to mining companies including the local units of Vedanta Resources , Glencore and Vale.

On Thursday, CEC told mining firms it would reduce power supply by 30 percent to mines from Friday.

"CEC told us that the planned reduction of power supply will be delayed pending the outcome of a meeting with mining firms tomorrow (Saturday)," Zambia Chamber of Mines president Jackson Sikamo told Reuters.

Energy minister Christopher Yaluma said the government would not allow any reduction in power supply to mines without consultations with them, state radio reported on Friday.   Continued...