Zambia Chamber of Mines says govt tensions with power firm CEC bad for investment (Reuters Africa – June 5, 2020)

LUSAKA, June 5 (Reuters) – Zambia’s attempt to force Copperbelt Energy Corp (CEC) to open up its infrastructure to other power producers has dented the country’s image as an investment destination, the Chamber of Mines said on Friday.

Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa issued a decree last Friday compelling CEC to allow others to transmit electricity via its infrastructure. Though it can negotiate terms, CEC said the energy regulator had also cut the tariff it can charge to 30% of the current price.

CEC, formerly a state-owned firm before it was privatised in the 1990s, said the directive and other steps taken by the government amounted to expropriation.

The Chamber of Mines said in a statement the decree could undermine CEC’s ability to supply power to the mining sector and spread a perception of increasing risk in the industry.

“The imposition of access and commercial terms on private infrastructure at levels that tip CEC into operational and financial distress have reverberated around the mining world,” it said.

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