Glencore's Zambia subsidiary to resume mining temporarily

FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Glencore’s Zambian subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) will resume mining for 90 days, but still expects to go ahead with its initial plan to place operations on hold, the local firm said on Sunday.

Glencore’s original announcement that it planned to put MCM under “care and maintenance” due to the coronavirus crisis and other issues sparked a backlash from Zambia’s government, which threatened to revoke its licences for not giving enough notice.

Mopani said in a statement that constructive discussions had taken place with the Zambian government.

“During the 90-day period, Mopani will continue to engage with the government on potential solutions to its current challenges,” the statement said.

Mines Minister Richard Musukwa said the government would continue dialogue with Mopani to understand what it was facing and seek a sustainable solution going forward.

“A multisectoral team will work with Mopani to critically analyse the entire mine value chain to structure a survival plan,” he said in a statement.

In addition, Zambia would continue to create a conducive investment climate, which promotes sustainability and encourages growth in mining through reduced costs, Musukwa said.

Mopani said the health and safety of the workforce and surrounding communities was a top priority and it would engage with its employees, relevant contractors and local communities regarding the restart of operations.

Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Edmund Blair and Andrew Cawthorne