Vedanta doesn’t deserve KCM – Sean Tembo
THE new government should hand over Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to Vedanta Resources not because it deserves to run the giant mine, but because the approach used to take it away was wrong, says Patriots of Economic Progress (PeP) President Sean Tembo.
Mr Tembo said in an interview that emphasis should be made upon Vedanta that it has to operate within the confines of the law, or else the licence would be revoked.
He said the PF Government should have taken over the mine by evoking the environmental provisions using the basis that Vedanta polluted the environment.
He said Vedanta not only did it not pay contractors and suppliers but also had no regard for the environment as it polluted the Kafue River.
Mr Tembo said the first route to use to take away the mine from investors, was to invoke the provisions of the Environmental Act and show that the mine has polluted the environment with impunity.
“Government needed to take over KCM by evoking the environmental provisions using the basis that they have polluted the environment. Instead, the previous government took the route of liquidation, which in the actual sense did not suit the definition.
“Because when you are liquidating the company, you are ceasing to operate and selling all its assets. But we have seen that the liquidation of KCM did not witness any of that. If anything, they started buying more equipment for the mine and Government continued to operate it. Government really messed up in that regard,” he explained.
Mr Tembo said he believed Vedanta does not deserve to run the mine but the new government’s hands are tied.
“Given that the previous Government made a mistake by placing the mine on liquidation, instead of revoking the mining licence on the basis of pollution. It wouldn’t be appropriate for the new Government to continue holding on to the mine,”
“So inevitably, the new government should just hand over KCM to Vedanta. But as they do that, they need to emphasise upon Vedanta that they need to operate within the confines of the law. Should Vedanta prove not to be, then Government can take steps to get the mine back,” Mr Tembo said.
By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA