Government has devised a plan aimed at reducing power supply restrictions to the mining companies in order to enable them continue operating effectively.
And Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma has since directed ZESCO to lift power supply restrictions on First Quantum Mine in North-Western province with effect from today.
Mr Yaluma said the decision was arrived at during a meeting government held with chief executive officers from the power utility companies and various mining houses in North-Western and Copperbelt provinces at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) yesterday to discuss the issues affecting the mining sector with regards to the current power supply restrictions by ZESCO.
Briefing the media on the outcome of the meeting, Mr Yaluma said government has developed an action plan to amicably resolve the challenges that the mining companies are facing due to the power supply restrictions they are currently experiencing.
He said Government does not want the mining houses to be restricted with power without them knowing about the load shedding schedule.
He said it was important to plan how these power cuts should be done and when they should be done for the mines to enable them operate effectively within the available power.
The minister also noted that there was need for ZESCO, the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) and the mining sector to come up with a workable load shedding schedule which will not affect the operations of the mines.
Mr Yaluma said government will work tirelessly to ensure that it develops long- term measures aimed at mitigating power outages in the mines.
And Zambia Chamber of Mines president, Jackson Sikamo commended government for showing interest in resolving the challenges that mining companies are facing with regards to power shortages.
Mr Sikamo said the mines were happy that some of the concerns that they had raised have been addressed in this meeting.
ZESCO has restricted power supply to some mines on the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces in the wake of the power deficit the country is currently experiencing.
And some mines have been threatening to close some of their operations due to the power supply restrictions.