The Nchanga Smelter will resume operations the first week of May after a fire caused suspension of copper production early this month, the smelter owners said on Wednesday.

Gerald Mulwanda, a spokesman for the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), which owns the smelter said production of copper at the 300,000 tonnes capacity per year facility will restart after KCM temporarily replaced a Larox Filter at Nchanga with one obtained from its Nampundwe pyrite mine.

In the first week of May, Mulwanda told Reuters when asked when output would resume at Zambia's largest copper producer.

KCM, which is majority owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc (VED.L), operates the Nchanga open pit mine and Konkola copper mines, Fitwaola satellite mine and is currently developing the Konkola deep copper mine.

Mulwanda said KCM had notified authorities about moving the Larox Filter to Nchanga from Nampundwe mine, after authorities said last month that they would ensure there was no asset stripping at some mines facing closure.

The decision to move the filter has come about because of the breakdown of the Nchanga Larox Filter which has negatively impacted production at Nchanga, Mulwanda said

The measure is a temporary arrangement made to avert further production losses while a new filter is being sourced to replace the broken down one, he said in a statement.

(Reporting By Shapi Shacinda)

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