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Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Unit Halted Output Dec. 31 at Open Pit

Konkola Copper Mines Plc, Vedanta Resources Plc’s Zambian unit, stopped producing at one of its open pits near Chingola after a mining contract was not renewed.

The contract with Brazilian-owned U&M Mining Services expired Dec. 31, the Zambian company said in an e-mailed statement today. The Nchanga mine, which includes the halted Chingola F&D open pit, produces an average 5,400 tonnes per month of copper in concentrate, according to the company.

“We are looking at our options for operating the pit,” Joy Sata, a spokeswoman for Chingola-based Konkola Copper, said by mobile phone.

Zambia, Africa’s biggest copper producer, is set to reach a record output of 1 million tonnes of the metal this year, according to Vedanta’s 2012 annual report. Copper accounts for about two-thirds of the country’s export earnings.

The U&M contract affects about 700 workers, Sata said. Konkola Copper is involved in wage negotiations for an agreement that was scheduled to be implemented Jan. 1.

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