President Lungu seeks new investor in Vedanta - controlled copper miner
President Lungu has started looking for a new investor in Vedanta - controlled Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), it was announced Monday, in a move likely to stoke international miners’ concerns about rising government intervention in the sector.
Zambia, Africa’s second biggest copper producer, has also proposed tax changes that Lungu insists he will push through, despite opposition from international miners who say they will deter investment that Zambia desperately needs.
“We are not shaken in our resolve to divorce, starting with KCM, and we have filed that notification,” Lungu said on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation radio, adding that he would brief the cabinet on the decision late on Monday.
The decision follows a number of breaches in terms of KCM’s mining licence, presidential spokesman Amos Chanda told Reuters.
“The government is planning to revoke KCM’s mining licence because of the breaches,” Chanda said.
The London-listed company Vedanta, said in a statement that it was seeking an urgent meeting with Lungu over the future of KCM and that it had not received formal communication from the government on KCM.
It said in a statement it was the intention of KCM and Vedanta, its primary shareholder, to continue to engage with the government “in a constructive and transparent manner.”
The government, which also has a stake in KCM through a state minding coming, “is fully appraised of and party to the circumstances of the company and major decisions that have been taken,” Vedanta stated.
Chanda declared a default notice had been issued to KCM in April last year for a number of breaches and that it had not convinced the government that it should keep its license.
He also spoke of “about three investors” whom he could not name were interested int eh asset, but no negotiations had begun.
“Everything will be done within the law and that’s why we cannot name the interested investors until the separation process with KCM is done,” he stated.