Zambia on the Verge of Resolving Copper Asset Dispute with Vedanta

Mouad Boudina
Mouad Boudina
3 Min Read

Zambia is currently on the brink of resolving the ongoing dispute with Vedanta Resources (VEDJB.UL) concerning the operations of Konkola Copper Mines. According to the Minister of Mines, a forthcoming agreement regarding the future of this partially state-owned entity is highly anticipated and expected to materialize soon.

Ever since the deterioration of relations between Zambia and Vedanta a few years ago, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has encountered significant challenges in attracting investments. This tumultuous period eventually led to the state assuming control of KCM’s assets and their subsequent forced liquidation in May 2019.

As a result of these events, protracted legal battles ensued, with Vedanta resorting to approaching an arbitration court in London to contest the seizure of the copper assets. This move was undertaken to defend its rights and interests regarding the acquisition of the aforementioned assets.

Zambia’s Mines Minister, Paul Kabuswe, informed Reuters that the negotiations have reached an advanced stage, and an announcement regarding the resolution is forthcoming. He emphasized the importance of addressing all remaining details to prevent a recurrence of the challenges faced in the past. This cautious approach aims to ensure a comprehensive agreement that safeguards the interests of all parties involved.

Minister Paul Kabuswe, in collaboration with Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane, has been actively engaged in negotiations. These talks aim not only to resolve the core issues concerning KCM but also to address the pending payments owed to suppliers and contractors, as well as resolve technical aspects of the operations. While declining to provide specific details at this time, the ministers are working diligently to reach a comprehensive agreement that encompasses these crucial matters.

The potential agreement holds the promise of unlocking the funding necessary to propel the advancement of the Konkola Deep Mining Project. This project, known for harboring one of the world’s most abundant copper deposits, demands substantial investment, estimated to reach as high as $1.1 billion, as communicated by KCM in the previous year. A successful deal would not only pave the way for tapping into this significant resource but also facilitate the necessary financial backing to realize its full potential.

According to a spokesperson from Vedanta, the talks between the company, owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, and the Zambian government have made significant progress. Both parties are motivated to witness the resumption of production at KCM at the earliest possible time. This shared objective reflects their mutual interest in revitalizing operations and restoring the productive capacity of the company.

Mouad Boudina

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