VENTURES AFRICA – Zambia’s state-owned utility Zesco has urged mining companies in that country to cut back on electricity use as it would help ease a power shortage in Africa’s top copper producer.
Zambia, like other countries in southern Africa, has been hit by a power shortage and has been rationing electricity supply to the mining industry — the country’s economic lifeblood.
Zambia had been unable to secure power imports from the DRC for more than a week following a technical glitch.
Zambia generates 1.746 megawatts (MW) of electricity but demand exceeds capacity by about 70 MW during night time peaks caused by increased power usage from households, Cyprian Chitundu said.
Reuters reported that Zesco has asked mining firms to reduce power usage by about 100 MW. There has been no reply yet from major mining firms.
The country’s electricity shortage should ease in December 2013 when 180 MW of additional power was expected to be added to the grid, Chitundu said.
Foreign miners operating in Zambia include Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, London-listed Vedanta Resources, Glencore International and Barrick Gold.