And the mining giants have allayed fears that the programme is expected to result in job losses.
Meanwhile, company chief executive officer Chris Vermeulen is set to leave the mining company on July 31, 2019.
Mopani Copper Mines Public Relations Manager Nebert Mulenga stated that the refurbishment programme which would result in a total shutdown of the plant.
“Mopani Copper Mines Plc wishes to confirm that due to ongoing operational issues at the smelter, which culminated in a significant failure in the ISA furnace, it has commenced a major refurbishment programme,” Mulenga stated.
He stated that the programme was expected to last until the end of the year and would result in a total shutdown of the plant.
Mulenga further assured that the programme would not affect employees adding that will be affected will be re-assigned while others will be placed on forced leave.
“Employees affected by the shutdown will be re-assigned as appropriate and/or placed on paid leave. Mopani has informed the Government and Unions of its plan and will continue to engage with its stakeholders throughout the refurbishment programme,” he added.
Mulenga stated that the investment in the new shafts would not be impacted.
Meanwhile, Vermeulen, who joined Mopani in July 2013, is retiring next month end.
He first worked as Chief Officer Productivity and Efficiency before being promoted as a Chief Operating Officer in 2015.
He was later appointed as Mopani Chief Executive Officer in December 2017, a position he holds until his departure.
Mopani has since wished Vermeulen well as he retires.
This is contained in a brief memorandum to Mopani employees by Mopani Board chairperson Moses Chilangwa.