Vedanta says it has funds to pay Konkola Copper creditors

VEDANTA Resources said it had arranged funds required to start paying creditors of its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia as it takes steps to revive operations after regaining control of the assets.

The miner owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal will have around the $250m it needs to pay small creditors in Zambia on or around July 8, said Reuters citing a company statement.

Vedanta needs to settle debts owed by KCM as part of a deal reached with Zambian authorities after it regained control of the copper mines and smelter, the newswire said.

The company regained control of KCM late last year after a five-year battle to recover the copper mines and smelter that were seized by the administration of former Zambian president Edgar Lungu which accused the company of failing to invest to expand copper production.

Vedanta said it would also grant KCM workers a 20% salary increase and once-off payment of 2,500 Zambian Kwacha (about $102).

Vedanta will still need to raise an additional $1bn revive the mining operations and invest in advancing particularly the Konkola Deep Mining Project, which holds one of the richest copper deposits in the world.

A Vedanta spokesperson told Reuters last week the company was committed to exploring all funding options, including via debt or selling a stake in the copper assets.

Talks to sell a stake in KCM to the United Arab Emirates’ International Resources Holding (IRH) collapsed after the parties failed to agree on the assets’ value.

Vedanta owns 80% of KCM and has said it may sell a 30% of its holding to raise capital to invest in boosting copper output. The Zambian government owns 20% of KCM through state firm ZCCM-IH, said Reuters.