A copper mine in Zambia is shutting on Wednesday due to disruption brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, reports Reuters news agency.
Reuters says that global mining company Glencore’s Zambian unit Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) made the announcement in a statement.
Zambia’s mines minister earlier said MCM had declared “force majeure”, a clause in contracts that allows contractual obligations to be ignored because of unavoidable circumstances.
He questioned, however, whether there were legitimate grounds and said the government would block the mine shutdown, which he said would put 11,000 jobs at risk.
The MCM statement did not mention “force majeure” and a Glencore spokesman declined to comment.
“The government of the Republic of Zambia rejects this attempt by Mopani to put the mines in Kitwe and Mufulira on care and maintenance because it does not conform with the law,” Musukwa said in a written statement.
“This situation does not amount to force majeure,” Musukwa added, saying he was unaware of any events beyond MCM’s control that made mining impossible.
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