Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources Richard Musukwa has said that the ruling handed by the South Gauteng High Court in South Africa this morning granting Vedanta Resources an urgent interim interdict against Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) minority shareholder, ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc, has no bearing on the current position of Government on the liquidation process of KCM.
Speaking to the media, after the ruling and flanked by Minister of Justice Given Lubinda and the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, Mr Musukwa said that there foreign judgments are not enforceable in Zambia until they have undergone a rigorous process and that the Judgement has no effect on the processes going on in Zambia about the liquidation of KCM.
Mr Musukwa’s sentiments were further echoed by the Minister of Justice Mr Lubinda who said that Zambia had a working and effective Judiciary and before matters from outsided can take effect they have to be brought before the judicial system in Zambia.
Earlier, South Africa’s High Court granted Vedanta Resources an urgent interdict halting the liquidation of its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) unit in Zambia until a final decision is made through arbitration.
Vedanta has been locked in a dispute with the Zambian government since May when it appointed a liquidator to run KCM, which is 20% owned by Zambia’s state mining company ZCCM and the rest by Vedanta. Zambia accused KCM of breaching the terms of its licence.
The dispute in Africa’s second-largest copper producer has intensified concerns among international miners about resource nationalism in Africa.
Mumbai-listed Vedanta denies that KCM has broken the terms of its licence and says it will defend its assets in the southern African country.
South African High Court Judge Leicester Adams said on Tuesday in a ruling seen as a big win for Vedanta that wind-up proceedings must be immediately withdrawn until a final decision is made following arbitration.
“Pending the final determination of the arbitration, the first respondent is interdicted and restrained from taking any further steps in the furtherance and prosecution of the winding up proceedings,” he said.
Vedanta welcomed the decision and said it was committed to resolving the dispute. The legal counsel for ZCCM declined to comment.
It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would be binding in Zambia.
Vedanta had sought the urgent order in South Africa to prevent KCM from being wound up, arguing that the dispute should be subject to arbitration, which cannot happen if the Zambian government is pursuing a new investor.