Mines and Minerals Development Minister, Paul Kabuswe says court cases between Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited and ZCCM – Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) have finally been suspended to pave way for dialogue.
Vedanta Resources, which has an 80 percent stake in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), has been embroiled in a long legal battle with ZCCM – IH, the minority shareholder, over the appointment of a provisional liquidator to run the operations of the mine.
In 2019, the Zambian Government, through ZCCM-IH placed KCM under the provisional liquidator, citing poor management of the mine by Vedanta, charges which management at Vedanta disagreed with.
Recently, Mr. Kabuswe had asked the two parties to settle their disputes outside court so as to quickly find an amicable solution to the challenges facing the mine.
The economy on the Copperbelt is anchored on mining, and the continued operational challenges facing KCM have adversely affected mine suppliers and contractors who solely depend on the mine for survival.
Mr. Kabuswe is confident the issues surrounding KCM will be resolved now that the court cases have been suspended.
Copper production in the first half of 2022 dropped by seven percent to hit 364,937.58 metric tonnes, from 394,183.92 metric tonnes recorded in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, The government has said that it is in the process of formalizing all illegal mines countrywide in order to address the problem of illegal mining.
Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe has noted with concern the increasing cases of illegal mining involving mostly small-scale and artisanal miners.
Mr. Kabuswe has advised the youth engaged in illegal mining activities to register their businesses and benefit from the many empowerment programmes being implemented by the new dawn administration.
The Minister was speaking in Kabwe during the commissioning of the rehabilitation of the Kabwe main canal aimed at addressing the health challenges caused by lead poisoning.
And Central Province Minister Credo Nanjuwa has warned individuals and some young people engaging in illegal mining activities in the name of the UPND and President Hakainde Hichilema to desist or risk facing the wrath of the law.