February 10, 2016 — 1:54 AM ESTUpdated on February 10, 2016 — 4:09 AM EST

  • Copper production fell 3% last year on power outages, prices

  • Electricity shortage grew to 950 megawatts from 542 megawatts

The Chamber of Mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo called for radical reforms in the country’s power industry after disrupted electricity supplies and lower copper prices reduced output in Africa’s biggest producer of the metal.

Copper production dropped 3 percent to 995,805 metric tons in 2015, the first time annual output dropped since 2009, the Chamber of Mines at the Federation des Entreprises du Congo said in an annual report distributed Wednesday in Cape Town. Output in the fourth quarter slumped 12 percent from the previous year, it said.

"Inadequate and highly non-transparent management by state-owned electricity supply company SNEL is the single biggest factor inhibiting the development of the mining industry" the chamber said. The shortage of electricity in Congo grew to 950 megawatts in 2015 from 542 megawatts a year earlier, Eric Monga, the head of the Katangan branch of Congo’s Chamber of Commerce, said at a conference in Cape Town on Wednesday.

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