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Mopani Copper Mines suspends ops amid tariffs dispute with Copperbelt Energy

Glencore Plc's Zambian Mopani Copper Mines Plc unit suspended some of its operations after Copperbelt Energy Corp., or CEC, limited power supply to the miner's sites, Reuters wrote Aug. 12, citing a statement from Mopani.

In an Aug. 13 report, the newswire said CEC confirmed it has restricted the electricity it supplies to Mopani Copper Mines amid a dispute over tariffs, with the miner rejecting the increased levy and continuing to pay for the electricity it consumes under the old tariff.

According to the report, the Zambian government proposed a flat tariff of 9.30 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour for mining companies in April, to be imposed retroactively from January, instead of individually negotiated rates.

Mining companies opposed the flat tariff, and CEC spokeswoman Chama Nsabika-Kalima said the power supplier was forced to restrict power supply to Mopani Copper Mines to match the monthly payments the miner continues to make to CEC.

CEC already noted the dispute over electricity tariffs in Zambia earlier this year, saying the Energy Regulation Board raised tariffs for mining operators by almost 30% in April 2014, prompting the country's Chamber of Mines to ask the High Court to review the legality of the increase. However, the regulator again increased prices in January 2016.