JOHANNESBURG – Zambia asked South Africa on Thursday for up to 300 megawatts (MW) of emergency power to ease an electricity crunch that has hit mining companies already grappling with a slide in global copper prices, its embassy said.
Energy minister Dora Siliya made the request in a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma and his energy minister, according to a post on the Facebook page of Zambian High Commissioner to Pretoria Emmanuel Mwamba.
South African energy ministry officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Zambia’s power grid can generate up to 2,200 MW, most of it from hydropower, but supply is often erratic and output has been hit by low water levels in dams stemming from a severe drought across the region.
The landlocked country, Africa’s biggest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo, was plunged into almost nationwide blackouts twice last month.