By CHUSA SICHONE -
STATE House said yesterday the standoff between Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) and Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) over the revised electricity tariffs had been resolved, with the two firms reaching an agreement leading to the resumption of power supply to the mine.
The agreement, which the Government facilitated, is to be amicably concluded between MCM and CEC over a six-week period, during which time the mining company and the Government will also conclude other outstanding matters on Value Added Tax refunds and transfer pricing disputes.
This is according to President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda in a statement yesterday.
“The Minister of Finance Felix Mutati, the Minister of Energy David Mabumba and the Minister of Mines
Christopher Yaluma facilitated the Mopani-CEC talks that went on late into the night of Tuesday in Lusaka.
“Mopani will today (yesterday) inform labour unions that negotiations are taking place in good faith and, therefore, there was no cause for panic. All other matters incidental to the power impasse will be addressed by Mopani management,” Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said Glencore Limited directors, the owners of MCM, were represented in the discussions by Telis Mistakidis who flew in from Geneva, while CEC was led by its chief executive officer Owen Silavwe.
President Lungu earlier in the day met Glencore directors to discuss the situation at Mopani.
CEC’s move to restrict power supply to MCM to 94 Mega Watts (MW) from 130MW was as a result of the dispute with the mining company to pay the new electricity tariffs effected by Zesco Limited.
The standoff developed into a crisis threatening jobs of thousands of workers after Mopani officially indicated its intention to lay off 4,700 miners while the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors said more than 300 of its members had been suspended.