Zambia to revoke mining licence for Glencore subsidiary

Zambia has told Glencore that it plans to revoke the mining licences of its subsidiary Mopani Cooper Mines (MCM) because the company did not give enough notice before suspending its mining operations following the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

The Zambia Government’s Mining Licensing Committee secretary Michael Chibonga relayed the information to Mopani’s chief executive Nathan Bullock in a letter seen by Reuters.

The company also breached Zambia’s labour laws by sending its workers on forced leave and terminating the contracts of mining services and supplies, Chibonga said in the letter.

“In view of the above, the Mining Licensing Committee intends to revoke the large-scale mining licences,” the letter said, referring to MCM’s Nkana and Mufulira copper mines.

Glencore has been given seven days to appeal the decision. A Mopani spokesman told Reuters that Glencore was in discussions with the government.

The global miner placed its Zambian operations into care and maintenance on April 8th, citing the impacts of a rapid decline in the copper price and critical disruptions to international mobility, transportation and supply chains arising from the coronavirus pandemic.