The Zambian regime said on Tuesday said it was proceeding with the liquidation of Vedanta Resources’ Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) even after South Africa’s High Court granted the firm an urgent interdict halting the liquidation until a final decision is made through arbitration.
Mines minister Richard Musukwa said foreign judgments are not enforceable in Zambia until they are registered in local courts.
“To that effect, it has no effect on the processes that are going on in Zambia,” he said, referring to the South African judgment.
South Africa’s High Court on Tuesday granted Vedanta Resources an urgent interdict halting the liquidation of its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) unit in Zambia until a final decision is made through arbitration.
Vedanta has been locked in a dispute with the Zambian government since May when it appointed a liquidator to run KCM, which is 20% owned by Zambia’s state mining company ZCCM and the rest by Vedanta. Zambia accused KCM of breaching the terms of its licence.
The dispute in Africa’s second-largest copper producer has intensified concerns among international miners about resource nationalism in Africa.
Mumbai-listed Vedanta denies that KCM has broken the terms of its licence and says it will defend its assets in the southern African country.
South African High Court Judge Leicester Adams said on Tuesday in a ruling seen as a big win for Vedanta that wind-up proceedings must be immediately withdrawn until a final decision is made following arbitration.
“Pending the final determination of the arbitration, the first respondent is interdicted and restrained from taking any further steps in the furtherance and prosecution of the winding up proceedings,” he said.
Vedanta welcomed the decision and said it was committed to resolving the dispute. The legal counsel for ZCCM declined to comment.