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Zambian President Edgar Lungu has told Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) unit to accept the increase in the price of electricity caused by the removal of state energy subsidies, his spokesman said.

Copperbelt Energy Corp (CEC) which buys power from the state-owned electricity company and sells it to mines has confirmed that it has restricted the amount of electricity it supplies to Glencore unit Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) because of a Glencore’s refubsal to accept the new tariff.

Mopani said on Friday the power supply restrictions had put its investments at risk and has warned that it might lay off 4,700 staff as a result of the cuts.

Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda questioned Mopani’s decision to contest the higher tariffs, saying all other mining companies had accepted them.

“We do not have problems with any other mining company other than Mopani and they are mining the same copper,” he told reporters, calling Mopani’s jobs warning unacceptable.