Zambia’s KCM smelter shut down earlier than planned after leak

Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines, Zambia. Image courtesy of Konkola Copper Mine Plc

Zambia’s Konkola Copper Mines (kCM) smelter was on Wednesday shut down for annual maintenance two days earlier than planned after a leak, the provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu said.

Lungu said the smelter, which was scheduled to undergo annual maintentance for 35 days starting on Friday, would now remain shut for 37 days until Nov 15 when output would resume.

“There was a leak and hot copper touched water creating steam. We have therefore decided to shut down the smelter for annual maintenance two days ahead of schedule,” Lungu said.

Vedanta has been locked in a dispute with the Zambian government since May when Lusaka appointed a liquidator to run KCM, which is 20% owned by Zambia’s state mining company ZCCM-IH and the rest by Vedanta. Zambia accused KCM of breaching the terms of its licence, an accusation the company has denied.

(By Chris Mfula; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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