Energy Minister David Mabumba has urged some mining companies not to use blackmail in the matter in which Copperbelt Energy Corporation is restricting power supplies to firms that have refused to pay higher electricity tariffs.
Some mining companies such as Mopani have suspended some operations and sent some workers home after CEC started restricting power supplies after the mining companies refused to pay cost reflective tariffs.
ZESCO has decided to effect a new interim tariff for mining companies backdated to 1st January 2017 but some mining companies including Mopani, Kalumbila and Kansanshi have refused to adhere to the tariff changes.
But Mr Mabumba told a media briefing in Lusaka today that it is unjustifiable for some mining companies to remain adamant and refuse to pay the new tariffs.
He said Government and domestic consumers have for a long time being subsidising the power consumption needs of the mining industry.
Mr Mabumba stressed that the time for power subsidies is gone because ZESCO requires funds for reinvestment in new projects.
He also warned that sending away miners and closing some operations is tantamount to blackmail and that Government will not tolerate such coming from mining companies.
Mr Mabumba has since advised all mining companies to pay enough money if they want full power restored to their operations.
He said CEC will continue to restrict supply if the mining companies do not pay up the full amounts for their power.