China’s Nonferrous Metals Mining Corporation (CNMC), the commodity trading group ETG and an undisclosed Turkish company have plans to acquire a stake in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a copper mining and smelting company in Zambia.
Vedanta Resources, which partly owns Mumbai-listed Vedanta group of companies, holds a majority stake in KCM.
Earlier this week, Vedanta Resources announced its plans to open a dialogue with the Government of Zambia, to fight for its legal rights and oppose the appointment of a provisional liquidator to complete the closure of the KCM business.
The court has adjourned the hearing of the legal dispute until 4 June.
The government has alleged that KCM breached its operating licence and has pushed for the liquidation of KCM.
This legal case has raised concerns among international miners about a rise in resource nationalisation.
Vedanta Resources CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan was quoted by Reuters as saying: “While Vedanta intends to fully defend its legal rights, we remain open to dialogue.”
“We hope to meet with the Zambian Government in the near future to discuss a mutually agreeable solution to the current situation as well as the broader challenges faced by KCM.”
Milingo Lungu of Lungu Simwanza & Company was appointed as provisional liquidator of KCM, which is currently responsible for daily operations at KCM.
Citing an anonymous government source, Reuters reported that CNMC had offered $2bn for KCM while the ETG Group held talks.
The sourced told the news agency: “The race is still open because we also have a Turkish company which is interested in KCM although no formal discussions have been held.”
KCM currently has 13,000 employees. Since 2004, Vedanta Resources has invested $3bn in the country.