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Zambian court blocks Vedanta’s bid to halt sale of Konkola mine

Vedanta is taking the court’s decision on review.
The Zambian government is accusing Konkola Copper Mines, which is 80% owned by Vedanta resources, of breaching the terms of its licence. Picture: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

Vedanta Resources said on Wednesday that the Lusaka High Court had refused its application to halt the Zambian government’s winding up proceedings against its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) business.

Mumbai-listed Vedanta has been locked in a dispute with the Zambian government since May when Lusaka appointed a liquidator to run KCM, which is 20% owned by Zambia’s state mining company and 80% owned by Vedanta.

Zambia, Africa’s second biggest copper producer, has accused KCM of breaching the terms of its licence, which Vedanta denies.

“Vedanta is reviewing the ruling and will then make a decision on its next steps,” Vedanta said in a statement, adding that a hearing for the winding-up petition was set to take place on August 27. Preliminary arguments will be heard on August 13.

The dispute in Zambia, Africa’s second biggest copper producer, has intensified fears around resource nationalism in Africa.

Last month, South Africa’s High Court ordered Zambia to halt the planned sale of KCM until a final decision is made in arbitration proceedings launched by Vedanta.

But Zambia’s mines minister Richard Musukwa said foreign judgments were not enforceable in Zambia until they were registered in local courts.

He had said earlier in July that nine companies were expected to submit bids for KCM within weeks.

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