Vedanta Resources has taken the government of Zambia to international arbitration following the seizure of its Konkola Copper Mines.
The company, which is controlled by Indian metals tycoon Anil Agarwal, said a shareholder agreement with the Zambian government “provides for disputes to be submitted to international arbitration in Johannesburg.”
Vedanta said on Friday its executives were unable to visit its KCM operation and engage with local management, in a setback to efforts to ease tensions amid a legal battle with the Zambian government.
The move comes after the government of President Edgar Lungu seized control of KCM, one of Africa’s biggest copper producers, this month, saying it had breached environmental and financial regulations.
Vedanta said that its chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan held meetings with the Zambian government on Wednesday.
It said Vedanta was assured by the government that it had not entered into any “sale” agreements with other parties for the mines, it said.
Mr. Agarwal said on Thursday the company was working to comply with Zambia’s laws and tax requirements.
State-controlled ZCCM-IH is seeking liquidation of KCM, in which it owns 20 per cent.
Vedanta, which owns 80 per cent of the Vedanta, which owns 80 per cent of the company, claims that it has invested over $3bn in KCM since it acquired the business in 2004, adding processing capacity and extending the mine life.
Demonstrators marched in Chingola earlier this month to welcome the state’s efforts to bring in another investor.