GOVERNMENT DID WELL TO LIQUIDATE KCM
I know you have a different view over kicking out of Vedanta and subsequent liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
But Vedanta never meant well for Zambia. They were just exploiting Zambia’s resources and externalizing the profits.
Zambia must manage its copper assets more effectively and with partners it trusts to pay their suppliers, pay the government, and pay royalties and place Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria to the fore.
Vedanta committed a lot of ills against the people of Zambia for many years. Government had no choice but to liquidate it to pave way for better management of mineral resources with reliable partners.
Vedanta has a history of abusing courts to disadvantage Zambians. One example is the recent environmental payout which has taken more than a decade to resolve. Vedanta, through KCM polluted rivers on the Copperbelt causing damages to livelihoods of more than 2, 500 villages. Toxic discharge from KCM operations damaged land and waterways. The villagers tried to seek compensation and other remedies from Vedanta.
Vedanta resisted the claims of these poor farmers in Zambian courts for more than 14 years. It took some concerned lawyers in UK to help the Zambian villagers by suing Vedanta right in London. Vedanta still resisted up to the last court of appeal in UK. But after sensing that it’s about to lose the case, it suddenly agreed to settle the claims. By this time, hundreds of villagers who initially sued Vedanta had either completely lost their incomes and others had died.
But even when agreeing to settle the claim outside court , Vedanta Resources Limited did not admit liability for polluting the villages. The settlement amount was not disclosed. It could be peanuts or change from peanuts. But most important, Environmental damage remains. Which means that, whatever peanuts the villagers will get in form of compensation , it won’t help their families as they have no land to grow food or rivers to draw water for their livestock. So clearly Vedanta dribbled the UK court as well. Court would have ordered Vedanta to clear the environmental damage.
Is it surprising that Vedanta is all over the world suing the Zambian government over the liquidation of KCM? No. They know very well that as long as the matter remains in courts, it will be difficult for anyone to invest in that particular mine and Zambian miners will remain without jobs and government will lose out on taxes.
Meanwhile, the minister of Mines Richard Musukwa is quiet because he knows the deals he cut with V