Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mine operators suffered “enormous losses” because of power shortages in copper- and cobalt-rich Katanga province, the government said on Monday.
Operations such as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s Tenke Fungurume project are not receiving power promised by SNEL, the state-owned power company, according to a statement on the website of Prime Minister Matata Ponyo. “These production problems are resulting in enormous losses,” it said.
A Freeport spokesman was not available for comment.
Katanga has a power shortage of more than 300 megawatts, according to the statement. SNEL is supposed to purchase power from neighbouring Zambia to make up for part of the shortfall.
The government met with Tenke representatives last week and will make it possible for the unit to pay Zambia directly for power.
While the DRC has about 2 400MW of installed power capacity, the World Bank says mismanagement means only about half of that is available.
Glencore Xstrata’s Katanga Mining project lost 67 days of output because of “recurrent general power disruptions” in 2012, the company said in its annual report. The DRC was the eighth-largest copper producer last year and largest producer of cobalt, used in rechargeable batteries. – Bloomberg