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Zambia urged to halt search for new KCM investor

Vedanta Resources is seeking Zambia for a cessation of search for a new investor in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) until litigation is settled.

The ongoing legal dispute with Vedanta Resources, KCM’s parent company was triggered by Zambia’s previous government’s moves to put KCM in the hands of a liquidator in May 2019.

Licence conditions

The government of Zambia accused the Indian mining company of failing to honour licence conditions, including promised investment. Vedanta has repeatedly denied it broke the terms of its licence. According to KCM provisional liquidator Celine Nair, the company would appoint an adviser to help it to find an equity investor willing to fund the mine’s expansion. However, Vedanta Resources spokesperson Masuzyo Ndhlovu said that no investor could buy the mine and smelter complex without the consent of Vedanta.

“Significant efforts to sell KCM to other companies were made previously, but these efforts failed. Vedanta would not participate in KCM’s eventual open tender to select a new investor. We had hoped to hoped discussions with the government and ZCCM-IH, could culminate in an amicable settlement because continuation of further legal proceedings will cost a lot to Zambia and also KCM assets continue to deteriorate with no funding available,” Ndhlovu said.

An arbitration hearing in London is due to take place in January 2023. Vedanta has offered to step up investment in KCM if it resumes control of the business.

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