THE High court in South Africa will deliver judgement on Vedanta Resources’ efforts to drive its joint venture partner, ZCCM-IH to the negotiating table over the disputed Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) on July 23 (next Tuesday).
Vedanta applied for an interdict stopping ZCCM-IH from winding-up KCM. The ZCCM-IH contends that Vedanta fell foul of Zambian law and that the business was loss-making. ZCCM-IH, which is a 20.6% owner of KCM, is owned by the Zambian government whose president, Edgar Lungu, has hit the populist note lately.
He told his supporters during a visit to the Konkola region where his party had recently lost a by-election, that it was time to take back the KCM assets. He styled Vedanta as a master exploiter and the state as victim. Whilst Vedanta’s KCM is bleeding cash, the company argues that its financial affairs would be better if the state refunded VAT receipts due.
After succeeding in having the matter heard in South Africa, Vedanta argued that the dispute claimed by ZCCM-IH regarding KCM should have been first tackled in the provisions set down in KCM’s shareholder agreement.
“Vedanta noted the urgency of the matter, since it is clear from statements made by members of the Zambian government, and reports in the Zambian and international media, that the Zambian government intends to sell KCM to a new investor in the near future,” said the Indian firm in a statement today.
If Vedanta is successful in its matter, the provisional liquidator that was appointed by the Zambian High Court would be removed.