Firms Turn to Generators as Power Blackouts Hit Zambia

Zambia’s state-owned power company, ZESCO, on Sunday suffered a system failure that plunged the country into a blackout.

The country’s Copperbelt region, which is home to most of its copper mines, as well as the capital Lusaka were without power on Sunday.

To sustain operations, mining companies in Africa’s second-largest copper producer had to use emergency diesel-generated electricity.

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), one of Zambia’s largest mining companies with operations in four locations, said it had been affected by the power outage, although production at Nchanga smelter continued after generators were switched on.

“At Konkola Deep underground mine, water control gates were immediately locked to ensure water did not spill into critical operation areas,” said a KCM spokesman.

Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) also confirmed the blackout had hit its operations but production had continued running on emergency diesel power generators

However, ZESCO while announcing the “system failure” had said it was working to ensure “all systems are restored as quickly as possible”.

Hazel Zulu, the firm’s Public Relations Manager, in a statement said ZESCO is “pleased to inform the public that it has commenced systematic restoration of power following a system failure that occurred earlier in the day.

Investigations are still underway to establish the cause of the loss of generation while ZESCO continues to update the nation on progress made until full restoration is achieved.

Zambia mostly gets its power from hydroelectric generation and has in the past experienced power cuts due to irregular rainfall.

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