Zambia is on the verge of finalizing an agreement with Vedanta Resources regarding the disputed copper assets of Konkola Copper Mines. According to the country’s mines minister, a deal regarding the future of the partially state-owned unit is expected to be announced soon.
Ever since the breakdown of relations between Zambia and Vedanta a few years ago, KCM has struggled to attract investments. This led to the state taking over the KCM assets and initiating forced liquidation in May 2019.
Vedanta responded to this move by taking the matter to an arbitration court in London, aiming to prevent the seizure of the copper assets.
Zambia’s Mines Minister, Paul Kabuswe, stated that the negotiations have reached an advanced stage and an announcement is imminent. Kabuswe emphasized the need to address all loose ends to avoid a repeat of past events.
In addition to resolving the dispute with Vedanta, the talks will also address KCM’s outstanding payments to suppliers and contractors, as well as technical aspects of the operations. Further details were not disclosed.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema is determined to attract new investments in the country, which is the second largest producer of copper in Africa.
If an agreement is reached, it could potentially unlock funding for the Konkola Deep Mining Project, which holds one of the world’s most valuable copper deposits. However, the project requires a substantial investment of up to $1.1 billion, as stated by KCM last year.
Zambia’s long-term plan involves tripling the output of copper, a crucial component for various products such as power lines, industrial machinery, and electric vehicles, over the next decade.
A spokesperson for Vedanta, owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, expressed satisfaction with the progress of the talks between the company and the Zambian government. Both parties are eager to see KCM resume production as soon as possible. The spokesperson also highlighted concerns about the deterioration of the mines and the well-being of the workers.
May also be interesting: “What’s the deal of the year for the aluminium industry?“