August 20, 2019 / 5:00 PM / a month ago

Zambia says no meeting planned with Vedanta over Konkola mine

FILE PHOTO: Konkola Copper Mines workers wait in a lift before going to work underground in this picture taken April 12, 2005 in Konkola, Zambia. REUTERS/Salim Henry

JOHANNESBURG/LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambian President Edgar Lungu will not meet the chairman of Vedanta Resources to discuss the disputed liquidation of its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) on his visit to India this week, a statement from the Zambian State House said on Tuesday.

Mumbai-listed Vedanta said earlier on Tuesday it would meet Lungu and his team for further discussions on KCM, but the Zambian State House said there was no meeting planned between the president and Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal or his representatives.

Vedanta has been locked in a dispute with the Zambian government since May when Lusaka appointed a liquidator to run KCM, which is 20% owned by Zambia’s state mining company ZCCM-IH and the rest by Vedanta.

Zambia has accused KCM of breaching the terms of its license, which Vedanta denies.

“The president is expected to meet representatives from 12 Zambian-based Indian companies, and KCM, whose majority shareholder is Vedanta, is not one of them,” the State House said.

“His Excellency the president has already stated that the Zambian government will follow the Zambian people’s wish over the KCM issue.”

The miner had said it was looking forward to engaging with Lungu and his team in India and to building on discussions held last week in Lusaka.

The dispute at Africa’s second-largest copper producer has intensified concerns among international miners about resource nationalism in Africa.

Vedanta has taken the matter to arbitration and tried in the meantime to block KCM’s liquidation via courts in both South Africa and Zambia. However, the government has continued with the process and said in July it expected numerous bids for KCM within weeks.

Reporting by Emma Rumney and Chris Mfula; Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by David Holmes

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