Zambia has threatened to revoke global miner Glencore’s license to operate the Nkana and Mufulira mines in the country as their dispute over Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) intensifies, according to media reports.
Glencore on April 8 shuttered its operations at Mopani copper mines citing weak demand and a decline in copper prices amid the spread of COVID-19 across the world. The Zambian government, however, classified the move as illegal as the company did not give enough notice before suspending operations. The company states it is in discussions with the government about a way forward. The Zambian government in its April 14 letter to the CEO of Mopani mines, Nathan Bullock has given the company 7 days to respond. Soon after the letter, the CEO Nathan Bullock was detained at the Lusaka airport. Bullock was released subsequently.
Zambia is rich in copper deposits and earns a large chunk of its foreign exchange through export of copper. Earlier, the Zambian government rejected Glencore’s attempt to declare force majeure at the mine citing the company’s failure to comply with the law.