ZAMBIAN mines minister, Richard Musukwa, said the country’s government remained steadfast in its desire to find a buyer for control of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), currently owned by Vedanta Resources.
“It is still the government’s wish to find a new equity investor with technical and financial capacity to recapitalise the mine and operate it effectively,” Musukwa said after the state mining arm ZCCM-IH signalled its intention to appeal a court ruling in favour of Vedanta.
Earlier this month, a Court of Appeal ruled that ZCCM-IH should go into arbitration with Vedanta regarding disputes related to KCM. Vedanta owns 80% of KCM with ZCCM-IH owning the balance. Musukwa, however, said the country wanted KCM to be put into liquidation proceedings.
In 2019, Zambia accused Vedanta of failing to live up to its investment and dividend promises and barred the Indian company from accessing KCM assets. Vedanta argued that any dispute between shareholders should be negotiated in terms of their agreement.
“ZCCM-IH has already indicated that they are appealing because they are not happy with the court judgment,” Musukwa told Zambia’s parliament on Thursday.
Potential buyers of KCM were awaiting a resolution to the dispute, Musukwa said, adding that steps taken by the government should not be “considered as nationalism”.
Vedanta was not immediately available for comment, said Reuters.