Vedanta appeals against claim by Zambian villagers

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 09:30:07 +0000

VEDANTA group of companies, which owns Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has opened a legal battle over whether an English court has jurisdiction to decide a claim on behalf of Zambian villagers seeking compensation for what they say is damage to their health and land by KCM.

Vedanta Chief Executive Tom Albanese confirmed the action by his company during the 2017 investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town but said he only expected to know the outcome this year.

Mr Albanese also said US$100 million payment to the Zambian Government ordered by an English court over outstanding payments from a 2013 agreement had also been dealt with.

And Mr Albanese said the company in Zambia was urgently seeking to overcome technical issues which it believed had the potential to produce copper for another 50 years.

Mr Albanese, said the company was committed to Zambia and that it wanted to invest more money in the country.

“We’re all here working with an element of urgency to find a solution. We’re committed to Zambia. We want to invest. I continue to believe there’s a 50-year vision for our Zambian copper operations. We have invested billions of dollars.

The Vedanta chief said he had used the Cape Town event to meet Zambian officials and the industry’s best engineers because lack of alternative copper assets made it imperative to exploit the company’s existing deposits.

Vedanta has a majority stake in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), which Albanese said was “one of the largest copper deposits still to be mined at one of the highest grades”.

Vedanta has also faced legal and regulatory issues in the Southern African country.

Last year, the Zambian Government proposed an import duty on copper concentrate imports to be smelted in Zambia, but decided against it.

Meanwhile, Copperbelt minister Bowman Lusambo said the 2017 investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town was a success. Mr Lusambo said Government successfully engaged with existing and potential investors who expressed keen interest in developing mining assets beyond Copper by exploiting Zinc, Lime, Gemstones and Nickel deposits.

“The meeting held with Chairman of Vedanta Mr Anil Agarwal reinforced President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s belief in open engagements with investors in order to strike a win-win situation for all,” he said.

He said Minister of Mines, Christopher Yaluma successfully showcased the country’s mining investment profile and the Zambian story attracted huge interest from the investor community.


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