Zambia presses ahead with KCM “divorce” as appoints provisional liquidator

ZAMBIA has appointed a legal firm to act as provisional liquidator of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), the assets owned by Indian firm, Vedanta.

Citing a court document, Reuters said Zambian law firm Lungu Simwana & Company had been appointed as administrator. This comes a day after Zambian president, Edgar Lungu, stripped KCM of its mining licence. The government plans to introduce a new investor.

Vedanta said yesterday it was seeking an urgent meeting with the government after Lungu  said his country would seek a divorce between the KCM operator and itself.

During a visit to the copperbelt on Friday, Lungu said: “I want to make it very clear that I have come here to sanction, if it’s the will of the Zambian people, that we divorce these mines … My position is that enough is enough. The attorney general is here, the lawyers are here. They will guide us how to proceed with this divorce”.

Amos Chanda, a spokesman for the presidency, said the country was not planning to nationalise its mining assets.

“KCM is yet to receive formal communication from the Government of Zambia on this, although it has sought an urgent meeting with the President and/or the Minister of Mines,” the firm said in a statement

Vedanta said the intention of KCM was “… to continue to engage with the government in a constructive and transparent manner”. It added that through its investment vehicle, ZCCM-IH, the Zambian government had been fully apprised of decisions it had made.

It had invested about $3bn since buying the Konkola assets and employed about 13,000 people at its mines and associated infrastructure in the country.