Vedanta halts plan to cut jobs in Zambian mines

Vedanta Resources’ (LON:VED) Zambian unit, Konkola Copper Mines, has abandoned plans to lay off more than 2,000 miners, over a quarter of its workforce, despite increasing operational costs and a slump in global copper prices.

Konkola, Zambia's second largest copper producer, said Thursday in an e-mailed statement it called off the planned cuts because it has made “significant progress” in identifying actions to deal with the challenges it faces in the wake of falling prices for the red metal.

Although KCM did not disclose the specific measures, the news is expected to reduce tensions with the Zambian government, which threatened to take over the mine last month, days after Vedanta announced the job cuts.

KCM accounts for more than 30% of the country's total copper output and Zambia is Africa’s top copper producer.

Copper fell today in London from a two-week high, with benchmark copper was down 1.3% at $7,356 a tonne by 1006 GMT.

Yesterday the red metal touched $7,500 a tonne before closing flat but prices are still down about 7% so far this year.