Mopani Shuts Down Smelter as CEO Set to Leave

Mopani Copper Mines Plc has announced that its smelter plant will shut down to allow for refurbishment.

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.


  1. Gangsta grabs

    Is Lungu capable of coming up with proper policies apart from shut downs and kickbacks? Muzadya bana bafikala

    • Decent

      Gangsta grabs, grow up and stop silly, uneducated, baseless comments Chik…..la cha wiso.

  2. observer

    I don’t see how the reason of shutdown as explained in the write-up should have anything to do with policies and kickbacks. The comment from Gangsta really smacks of mere hatred and not out of reasonable discourse. Nsele (insults) only portrays one’s nadir of pervasiveness, God forbid prophets of doom

  3. Bule

    Sad development there, i hope there won’t be job losses.


    Mopani as a mining company cannot state openly that it streamlining or closing its operations in Zambia because of the harsh and frequently changing tax policies. To be a ruling party does not mean that you can intimidate anyone. The change in taxation is a way of finding scapegoats for PF’s failure to effectively manage the national economy. The PF must admit its failure so that we go back to Structural Adjustment Programme as the MMD did to correct UNIP errors.

  5. Male Mupeta

    Is it prudent for the mining companies to be stealing our money through VAT refunds besides under declaring profits? Sometimes lets sacrifice for the better of this country. Otherwise, i would encourage the government to introduce higher tax bands under PAYE for the so-called expatriates and lower the same for the local employees so that we reserve jobs for Zambians!

  6. Joshua

    Lungu, and his pf govt, he had failled to run this country economy, the only dreams, his doing its taxes.

    • mu chima mankatami

      I would love goverment to close lumwana mine not mopani,as you can see lumwana is gold mine,but there doing nothing interms of development,place lumwana located compairs to FQM .lumwana no better roads they even fail to grand the road were there uses to pass with buses taking pupils to high school , meheba high school,work up call to GRZ check this mines located.

      • Amigo

        Chizungu please! Best you stick to your mother tongue boyi!

  7. Mwansa

    Is it mean, if smelters are close all shafts under mopani will be closed, like SOB, MINDOLO, etc.?

  8. John

    Being born and bred Mufulira person, I know the after effect that will follow should the smelter shut down for 6months. Its time for people in our town to wake up and start thinking outside the box. Others will lose jobs but others will gain contracts to repair the smelter. I worked a the smelter for some good 8 years and I know the works that must be done. instead of crying over this issue, lets offer some solutions. Hope is there after all. God loves us all.

  9. SMASH

    Guys is it the first time mopani is refurbishing the smelter? let’s hope they will be paid their packages correctly. Feel pit for TAZARA workers 5 months no salary only to be given 12.5KG relief food this week (Ba Government imwe kuti mwaikala all these months let’s be realistic with giving ni mockery ii

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