Electricity power supply that was abruptly disrupted in most parts of the country on Friday has been restored but the incident has left some organisations reeling with damaged equipment and unable to carry out their normal operations.
Among organisations affected by the power-cut are the mines, water supply companies and telecommunication institutions.
Most parts of the country were plunged into darkness when a circuit breaker at Kariba North Bank Power Station in Siavonga blew up. Kariba is Zambia’s second largest electricity power station after Kafue Gorge.
The incident happened around 10:30 hours but by 13:00 hours the power restoration process had started.
Zesco spokesperson Lucy Zimba said: “By 19:00 hours we had restored power in the entire country. What everyone must understand is that those are machines and anything can happen to them. What happened yesterday (Friday) was not man-made.”
She said Zesco is still assessing the cost implications of the incident.
Konkola Copper Mines Plc says its mining operations came to a standstill due to the power outage but engineers are now working re-activating the last of four pumps at the Konkola Deep Mine, shaft number one, to effectively manage a flooded portion of the mine.
KCM head of corporate affairs Rahul Kharkar said this in a statement issued in Ndola yesterday.
“About 110 miners were in the shaft cage at the time of the outage, and all of them were safely brought to the surface after power supply was stabilised one and a half hours later,” Mr Kharkar said.
He said emergency power was supplied to enable the mine to continue pumping out water.
“At Konkola Deep, shaft number three has started hoisting while at shaft number one, 41 pumps have been restarted. Our engineers are working on the last battery of four pumps to enable effective management of the flooded portion of the mine,” Mr Kharkar said
He said the Nchanga open pit, Nchanga underground mine and the concentrator are back on stream.
Mr Kharkar said the tailings leach plant is also expected to resume operations within the course of the day (yesterday).
“The Nkana refinery is back online and the Nchanga smelter is expected to start up later today (yesterday),” Mr Kharkar said.
He said KCM is assessing the full impact of the incident and that the results will be known in two days time.
China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining Corporation (CNMC) Luanshya Copper Mines (CLM) says it is still quantifying the losses the mining company incurred during the power-cut.
CLM public relations officer Sydney Chileya said this in an interview in Luanshya yesterday.
“The processing plant, which includes the concentrator, flotation and milling sections, was shut down because of the power failure. We have very sensitive equipment there, so we isolated it so that it is not damaged when power was restored,” Mr Chileya said
He, however, said the company was able to mine copper during the power outage but that it could not process the ore because the processing plant was shut.
“Our technical people are still quantifying the man hours lost and in monetary terms but I can say that the losses we incurred were quite high,” Mr Chileya said.
Mr Chileya said CLM continued some of its mining activities because 28 shafts at Baluba Mine are connected to Copperbelt Energy Corporation standby generator.
In Ndola, a power surge yesterday damaged electric panels at the Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company’s (KWSC) Itawa water works, disrupting supply to some parts of the city.
KWSC public relations officer Margaret Zulu said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that the power surge also damaged six computers at the company.
“We lost electric panels at the Itawa water works and this means that we can’t pump water.”
She said KWSC is still assessing the extent of the damage on the electric panels.
Ms Zulu said the affected areas are town centre, Kansenshi, Northrise and Chifubu.
The power surge also damaged computers at Zamtel offices at the company’s headquarters in Ndola.
Zamtel public relations manager Rose Mwanza said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that the extent of the damage has not been ascertained yet.
“Some computers at Zamtel blew up on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors. I just hope the damage is not worse than that,” Ms Mwanza said.
In Lusaka, Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company public relations manager Simon Mwale said the power-cut adversely affected water supply to most parts of the city.
He said that it took over an hour for the reservoirs to fill up again and for the water to be pumped to customers.
[ Zambia Daily Mail ]