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Zambia Copper Mines Resume Output After Power Outages
Jun 21,2010 08:49CST
industry news

Jun 19, 2010 (DOW JONES NEWSWIRES) -- Most of Zambia's copper and cobalt mines on the Copperbelt and North Western provinces have resumed output following the restoration of power by the state power utility, Zambia Electricity Supply Corp. or Zesco, officials said Saturday.

An official at the ministry of Mines and Minerals Development told Dow Jones Newswires that operations at mines on the North Western province had resumed while most mines on the Copperbelt had also been restarted. Zambia is Africa's top copper producer.

"The mines are now getting normal power supply and most of them have resumed output," he said, adding that the Lumwana Copper Mines and the Kansanshi Copper Mines on the North Western province were the first to resume output late Friday.

Lumwana is owned by Toronto-listed Equinox Minerals Ltd. (EQN.T) while Kansanshi is owned by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.T). The two mines account for over 40% of Zambia's copper output. Company officials could not comment immediately.

According to Lucy Zimba, the Zesco spokeswoman, the power utility has restored normal power supply across the country following the restoration of a generation unit at the 990 megawatt Kafue Gorge Power Station and the 450 MW Kariba North Bank power station.

However, Konkola Copper Mines, Zambia's largest copper producer had its water pumping facilities damaged following the blackout and has since been trying to prevent underground mine flooding. The company's other units have also been restored, according to company officials.

The breakdown of Kariba also affected the 990 MW Kafue Gorge power station which also went down after being overloaded following the power deficit created by Kariba breakdown, he added. 

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