Copperbelt-based Good Governance Activist Peter Mulenga says the Government had no other option besides giving back Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to Indian investors Vedanta Mineral Resources.
The London Metal Market listed firm is coming back to run KCM after protracted court battles that culminated in the recent out-of-court settlement that is near completion.
Mr. Mulenga said the decision to bring back Vedanta at KCM will minimise losses the people of Zambia would have incurred had the Government picked another investor to run the mine.
He brushed aside negative comments made by Socialist Party leader Dr Fred M’membe against the imminent return of Vedanta.
“The timing is right for us to realise that we are facing challenges that call for us to create a conducive environment. Now Mr. Fred M’membe claims that it supports Mr. Hakainde Hichilema’s treachery and disdain of the Copperbelt populace, but Mr. M’membe neglects to provide the greatest remedy that would satisfy the Copperbelt populace. Remember that before Vedanta departed, it had the better deals for locals to get involved in business. To get the job done, all we have to do is show that we are capable. Locals from Zambia had handled the majority of the contract work, and I think things should stay pretty much how they are. We need to work to fill their database with additional Zambians who have registered to take part in the buildup,” Mr. Mulenga said.
He continued:”Instead than being forced to pay fines for late payments, we must devise a legal undertaking. The key is to be mentally prepared for this opportunity. Most of us have already experienced the bloody gushes and are currently licking our wounds, but we can accept that if things go wrong, we won’t be able to recover.As we wait for the government to pass laws, let’s gather as stakeholders and develop a plan of action for when they do. So, once more, Mr. M’membe, what, if not KCM, would have been the wisest course of action? So you would have preferred to locate an investor after all legal obstacles were resolved.’
Mr. Mulenga said Vedanta’s return has made Copperbelt residents very happy.
“It’s known as minimizing your losses. In both domestic and international courts, we had come to an impasse that was not in our interest. Vendetta is not always our first pick, though. However, we are able to re-engage them on newly agreed-upon parameters under which we can now legally hold them accountable. The mine was turning into a toxic asset and was unable to gain investment. The only way to redeem it is in this new, advantageous arrangement. In conclusion; Vedanta’s return has made the Copperbelt’s residents very happy,” Mr. Mulenga concluded.