A company that supplies power to the mining industry in Zambia says it will discontinue power supply to one mining firm due to disputes in payments of arrears.

The Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) said in a statement it will stop supplying power to Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a unit of Vedanta, with effect from June 1, 2020, following the expiring of a power agreement.

“Negotiations for its further extension have broken down, despite CEC’s best efforts in good faith towards securing a new contract and engaging in comprehensive and cooperative negotiations,” the statement said.

It said that efforts by the power firm to resolve the mining firm’s outstanding debt of about 132 million U.S. dollars and get a firm commitment on payments of electricity have not yielded tangible results.

“It is unfortunate that it has come to this. Over the past several months, we have made clear to KCM the consequences of their non-payment and their unwillingness to engage in negotiations in good faith. Sadly, they have chosen not to honour our previous agreement or pay the considerable sum that is owed. In order to protect our staff, customers and all our shareholders, we have had no choice but to discontinue the supply of power,” a company spokesperson said.

However, the power firm said all efforts will be made to ensure that this was done in a way that protects the safety of both personnel and equipment.

But the mining firm said it has already planned to start getting power from state-run power utility Zesco Limited.

Shapi Shachinda, the mining firm’s spokesperson said the firm has entered into a binding agreement with Zesco Limited which comes into effect on June 1, 2020.

“Zesco Limited is expected to conclude a wheeling agreement soonest with CEC to transmit power from Zesco via CEC infrastructure to KCM,” he said in a separate release. Enditem

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