KCM cuts its electricity debt

KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) has paid US$50 million out of the US$60 million it owed the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) in unpaid electricity bills, which led to the electricity energy company restricting electricity supply to the giant mining company.

CEC managing director-operations Owen Silavwe announced this yesterday  at a media breakfast at CEC headquarters in Kitwe.

Mr Silavwe said the two companies had learnt lessons from what happened when CEC restricted electricity to the giant mining company and hoped that things would progress well between the two companies.

“As CEC, we did not derive joy in restricting electricity supply to KCM, but we had to do it because we had a challenging period in terms of KCM paying bills at a point where CEC had to restrict electricity supply to KCM. But I can tell you that KCM has paid a big chunk of the amount they owed CEC.  Mr Silavwe also said CEC had embarked on a number of projects to meet the growing demand for electricity and also improve the supply in various parts of the country.

He said some of the projects included the US$18million new dual circuit inter-connector to upscale capacity from 250 megawatts to 550 megawatts from Kasumbalesa border post  to Luano.

“This new dual circuit interconnector is an US$18million capital project which will run from Kasumbalesa border post to Luano. It will upscale capacity from 250 megawatts to 550 megawatts. This project has been on cards for a long time, but now, in 2014, it is under construction,” Mr Silavwe said.

He also said CEC was trying its best to meet the demands of the newly opened mines by putting up projects that would effectively supply to the new mines.

Mr Silavwe said CEC was already preparing itself to meet the demands of the Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) synclinorium Shaft and the South Ore Body at Non-Ferrous Mining Company (NFCA).

“At Mopani, we have expanded the Nkana substation in Kitwe. We have installed 90 megawats capacity, while at NFCA, we are building 220 KV substation lines and 1 x 90 substation to supply new shaft,” he said.

Mr Silavwe also said the 40 megawatts Kabompo Gorge Hydro scheme was under development, while the 800 megawatts Luapula hydro scheme was under feasibility studies and development was subject to govermental consent.

He also said CEC had a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) which has been supporting the education, sports and other community programmes.

Mr Silavwe said between 2009 and 2013, the company spent US$7000 on refurbishing and equipping the lecture theatre at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and supported the University of Zambia school of engineering.

“CEC has also been involved in the general teaching infrastructure support. The company was also actively involved in the construction of the bridge between Ndeke and Nkana East,” he said.