First Quantum Minerals has received a notice of the declaration of force majeure for the supply of electricity to its Kansanshi operation from ZESCO, Zambia’s state-run power company. Subsequently, on July 25, electricity supply to Kansanshi, including the smelter, was reduced to 117 megawatts (MW) from the steady-state level of 153 MW. Electricity supply at the company’s Sentinel project was also reduced to 42 MW from 55 MW. The supply reduction extends to all mining operations in the northwestern province of Zambia.
In the notice of the declaration of force majeure, ZESCO stated it has contracted independent power producers such as Maamba Collieries and Itezhi Tezhi Power through the signing of power purchase agreements to procure more electricity by the end of 2015.
Facilities at the Kansanshi mine, smelter and the Sentinel project are currently operating at reduced capacities, while various options to alleviate the effect on production are being evaluated. As such, the company is unable to provide estimates on the length of the supply reduction or its impact on production.