Vedanta Resources PLC Chief Executive Officer MS Mehta
Vedanta Resources PLC Chief Executive Officer MS Mehta

LONDON — Nearly 2,000 Zambians can sue Vedanta Resources in the English courts over alleged pollution of their village after an appeal court on Friday threw out the miner’s attempt to block their legal action.

The judgment by London’s Court of Appeal could pave the way for other London-listed multinationals to be held liable in the English courts for the actions of their subsidiaries abroad.

Vedanta said in a statement it would seek the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest in the English legal system. It also said Friday’s decision was on jurisdiction and “was not a ruling or a determination on the merits of the claims”.

Three senior High Court judges dismissed an appeal by Vedanta and its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)against a ruling in May last year when a High Court judge decided the claim could proceed in the English courts on behalf of 1,826 Zambian villagers.

The villagers allege that their land and livelihood have been destroyed by pollution from the Nchanga Copper Mine, which is owned by Vedanta through its subsidiary KCM.

London law firm Leigh Day argued the English courts were the only route for the villagers, whom they are representing on a “no-win, no-fee” basis, to achieve justice, while Vedanta said Zambia was the appropriate jurisdiction.

Separately, Leigh Day is representing residents from the Niger Delta in a case against Royal Dutch Shell and has appealed against a High Court ruling earlier this year that it could not be sued in London over oil spills in Nigeria.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a shame that your neighbor is fighting for your children and you seem not to care..In Zambia, the government doesn’t care about these villagers as long as Vedanta bribes government and they buy new VXs, those villagers can live with it.

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    • I saw this one coming. Good luck kcm. Your labour outsourcing scheme is not gonna save you. Zambia has to win. We need to replace you soon or later.

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    • This is a good example of how to outsmart multinationals that use underhand methods to undermine corrupt african governments in order to make outrageous profits.
      The level of corruption in zambia stinks. These companies are able to bribe their way from state house through environmental protection to the high Court! That’s how bad zambia has become.
      But now they have met their match!

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    • This says volumes about the status of our judiciary.

      Even the Kenyans allowed a presidential petition, but here in the land of the “proud and free” it takes the court of a former colonial master to sort our mess and protect our citizens.

      Our political independence is a sad joke.

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  2. These multinationals are more powerful than the governments of the countries they operate in and can only be dealt with in western courts.

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  3. Country Men and Women the sheer fact that we cannot pass a concrete ruling in our own courts in a manner which protects our own people and our own environment determines that we are not Truly An independent nation.

    The sheer fact that this story also hasn’t attracted the attention of the multitude of LT bloggers which typically patronise the more politically charged, unproductive and divisive story lines goes a long way in exposing our level of intellectual development in the nation, as well as our priorities as a people.

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  4. Good ruling by the Court. Now these multinationals will start thinking twice about being ‘laisser faire’ about the misdeeds they perform in the third world countries.

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  5. This once progressive Zambian country/nation has been totally destroyed by the corrupt regime of Edgar Chagwa Lugwa and his cohorts. The man Edgar Chagwa Lungu thrives in corruption such that even KCM Plc, a Vedanta Company in Zambia has no respect to the Labour Laws of the land and does not honour any of the single conditions of Service for the employees which they used to enjoy under ZCCM Ltd. The Zambia Local employees who hold Senior most key positions in the Company including the Zambian government officials who are on KCM payroll are the ones who are being used by Vedanta to further cripple the plight of KCM Plc employees. The abnormal Salary differences in KCM is one the the main indicator to this and the guys have been bribed to an extent where they bite like rabied dogs.

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  6. Vedanta is known for undermining country’s and there people.
    They also like using local contractors to help them accomplish this while there CEO’s sit back and smile.
    We have a typical example in South Africa with Deshni Naidoo who fails to act but feels obliged to hand matters down to incompetent staff to handle.
    The same incompetent staff that have had dealings in Zambia

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