Glencore halts Zambia copper production after mine deaths
Glencore, the world’s third largest copper miner, has halted copper production across all of its Zambia operations following the death of four miners in separate accidents. Local officials reported the news on Friday.
Three workers were electrocuted while underground at Glencore’s Mufulira copper mine. A further accident took place last week at a Mopani shaft in the Kitwe district where the mine employs around 14,000 people.
Glencore has previously committed to expansive upgrade investments in its Zambia holdings. The mining giant is currently working on sinking three new shafts, investing US$1.1 billion to incorporate technology expected to extend mine life by 25 years.
Zambia’s copper exports account for around 70% of Africa’s total copper production and 60% of its exports. On Friday, Goldman Sachs warned of a ‘supply storm’ that could hit the global copper market, pushing prices down to as low as $4,000 a metric ton over the coming 12 months. Analysts are predicting that the supply increases will lead to an uptick in refinery and smelting charges, while demand for the metal continues a downward cycle in the global market. Glencore stock rounded off the week up just over 1%.