Mining minister calls on investors to employ Zambia's resources
CAPE TOWN – Zambian Mines Minister Richard Musukwa on Wednesday wooed investors at the Investing In African Mining Indaba to take advantage of the country's resource potential despite the government's provisional liquidation of the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) for failure to pay dividends.
KCM, which is 20.6 percent owned by state-owned Zambian Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) and 79.4 percent owned by Vedanta Resources, is at the centre of an ongoing litigation battle by the London-headquartered company to regain it.
Musukwa said Zambia remained a stable investment destination for serious investors.
“Serious investors need to consider Zambia as an opportune destination. With Vedanta, Zambia is dealing with an investor that broke the law," said Musukwa.
“Zambia is a victim and it needs support. Vedanta Resources pledged to put in $300 million (R4.44 billion) they further pledged $500m and another $250m they did not bring that money. What do you want the Zambian government to do?”
Musukwa said that Zambia was one of the top 10 best performers in Africa as rated by the World Banks’ 2020 Ease of Doing Business Report.
Last May, ZCCM filed a petition in the High Court of Zambia to wind up KCM on “just and equitable” grounds.
ZCCM also obtained an ex parte order from the High Court of Zambia, appointing a provisional liquidator of KCM pending the hearing of the petition.
Since all the significant decision-making powers, including carrying on the business of KCM and taking control over all the assets of KCM, rests with the Provisional Liquidator, Vedanta previously said that it believed that the appointment of the Provisional Liquidator had caused a loss of its control over KCM.
The company deconsolidated KCM last May.
Musukwa said that Zambia was a host to investors from Canada, Australia, India and China. “You are welcome to Zambia if you follow the law,” he said, adding that the company broke the law.
“When we give you a mining licence, we give you the conditions of the grant. If the conditions of the grant are broken, because we are Africans we must watch you break the law? We deserve African and international support to ensure that Vedanta Resources pays the price. The failure of Vedanta Resources to operationalise its mine plan is criminal.”
Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters