Court reserves judgment in Vedanta application against winding up Zambia operations

JOHANNESBURG – Johannesburg's high court has reserved judgment in Vedanta Resources' application for an urgent interim interdict against the Zambian government's appointment of a provisional liquidator to wind up Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) operations.

The Indian-owned mining company is challenging Lusaka's decision, through Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), to appoint provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu after accusing Vedanta of breaching the terms of its licence, failing to exploit the Nchanga underground mine and paying creditors on time.

Vedanta says ZCCM has itself breached the KCM shareholders' agreement by pursuing winding-up proceedings. It argued in court that the issues raised by ZCCM in its liquidation application before Zambia's high court were covered by the KCM shareholders agreement, to which it is a signatory.

Vedanta said this was a matter for arbitration, but that process could not happen if the other party was intent on finding a new investor for its asset.

The company said it was clear from statements made by government officials and reports in local and international media that Zambia intended to sell KCM to a new investor in the near future.

The high court in Johannesburg, which heard arguments from Vedanta on Tuesday and from ZCCM on Wednesday, has reserved judgement to July 23.

Should Vedanta's application succeed and an interim order be granted, the order will remain in place until an arbitration - to be instituted in due course - has been resolved.


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