Minister of Mines Richard Musukwa has said that the government will soon announce a permanent solution to the liquidation process at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
Mr. Musukwa said that the government does NOT desire to prolong the liquidation process but wants to guarantee operations and secure thousands of jobs at the mine.
Last year, the Zambian government applied to liquidate KCM because of the firm’s alleged environmental and financial regulation breaches. According to Mr Musukwa, the liquidation of KCM was also a warning to other investors in the country to follow the rules, or else. “The case should instead be used as a signal to other mining companies not complying with the law to put their houses in order,”
Following the liquidation, Vedanta Resources rushed to South Afric, where the South Gauteng High Court granted Vedanta an urgent interim interdict to stop the Zambian government from forcing through a liquidation of KCM, which could involve a plan to sell the disputed assets which have received $3 billion of investment from Vedanta and is 79.4%-owned by the Indian company.
Vedanta welcomed the ruling from the South African court, saying on the same date in a media statement that the implication is that the KCM provisional liquidator could be discharged from the office.
However, while Vedanta cheered over South Africa’s recent court ruling against the Zambian government’s liquidation of its majority-owned Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Zambian officials rebuked the decision and denied the enforceability of the foreign ruling that determines the future of the country’s largest copper smelting assets.
President Edgar Lungu also met with the chairman of Vedanta Resources to discuss the disputed liquidation of its Konkola Copper Mines, but State House issued a statement saying that while the president agreed to listen to Agarwal’s position it did not change his mind.
“The president stated that the position the government has taken has the support of the people of Zambia, and the meeting will not affect the ongoing liquidation process,” the statement said.
And Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu says the Copperbelt Province is key to the national economy because of its huge contribution to the treasury in the form of taxes.
Dr. Ng’andu says he is hopeful that the government will soon find a permanent solution to the situation at KCM.
Earlier, Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe said the protests that rocked the province against mining houses have ended because the government has provided leadership.
Meanwhile, KCM provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu said management at the mine is grateful to the government for the support shown during the period.
The Finance minister is leading a delegation of ministers on the Copperbelt to understand the challenges in the mining sector.