ERG suspends Zambia refinery on shortage of cobalt, copper concentrates

Chambishi plant. Image by Eurasian Resources.

Eurasia Resources Group’s (ERG) Africa unit said on Thursday it will suspend operations at Chambishi Metals in Zambia due to a shortage of copper and cobalt concentrates required to produce cathode.

Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer, has introduced a 5% import tax on raw materials which has hobbled the flow of concentrates from mines in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

“It was not possible to locate appropriate feedstock in Zambia. We are in the process of placing the plant on care and maintenance,” ERG Africa said in a statement.

The miner said it was engaged with stakeholders and was exploring other sources of feed in order to resume operations.

The Chambishi Metals refinery has a capacity of 6,800 tonnes per annum of cobalt metal and 55,000 tonnes per annum of copper metal. It is the only plant in Zambia producing cobalt metal, according to the ERG’s website.

On Wednesday, the president of the Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia on Wednesday told Reuters that ERG planned to cut 229 jobs at the end of January.

(By Pratima Desai and Zandi Shabalala; Editing by David Evans)

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