Glencore's Zambia copper subsidiary says government rejects suspension plan


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LUSAKA, July 16 (Reuters) - Glencore's GLEN.L Zambia subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines on Thursday said the country's mines ministry rejected its proposal to suspend operations due to the coronavirus pandemic and low copper prices.

Mopani said it would initiate an appeal against the Zambia Director of Mines' decision, and will continue mining operations pending the outcome of the appeal process.

Mopani suspended its mines at the start of April, citing the coronavirus pandemic and other problems, but started operating again a month later after the decision sparked a backlash from Zambia's government.

"Mopani remains of the belief that the only way to protect the company's value and preserve the option to deliver its growth projects when conditions further improve is to transition the operations to C&M (care and maintenance)," the company said on Thursday.

MCM, which produced 119,000 tonnes of copper in 2018, is 73.1% owned by Glencore, 16.9% by First Quantum Minerals FM.TO and 10% by Zambia's mining investment arm ZCCM-IH.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Writing by Helen Reid; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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