Vedanta Resources is asking Zambia to stop looking for a new KCM investor

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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia should halt the search for a new investor in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) until the legal dispute with Vedanta Resources is settled, the Indian mining company said on Tuesday.

The previous government of Zambia placed KCM in the hands of an insolvency practitioner in May 2019, prompting the ongoing litigation with Vedanta Resources, KCM’s parent company.

The government accused Vedanta of failing to honor license terms, including promised investments. Vedanta has repeatedly denied violating the terms of its license.

KCM’s interim liquidator, Celine Nair, said June 7 that the company would appoint a consultant to help it find an investor willing to fund expansion of the mine.

But Vedanta Resources spokesman Masuzyo Ndhlovu told Reuters on Tuesday that no investor could buy the mine and smelter complex without Vedanta’s approval.

“Significant efforts have already been made to sell KCM to other companies, but these efforts have failed,” Ndhlovu said in a written response to Reuters questions.

Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe declined to comment on the matter.

Vedanta would not participate in KCM’s eventual open tender to select a new investor, Ndhlovu said, calling it “illegal”.

Arbitration hearings are scheduled to take place in London in January 2023.

Vedanta had hoped talks with the government and its mining investment arm, ZCCM-IH, could result in an amicable settlement, Ndhlovu said.

“Continuing further legal proceedings will cost Zambia dearly and KCM’s assets also continue to deteriorate due to the lack of funding,” Ndhlovu said.

Vedanta has offered to increase investment in KCM if it regains control of the business.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Helen Reid and David Goodman)

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard contributors; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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