The long-running disagreement between Vedanta Resources and Zambia’s mines minister, Paul Kabuswe, has been directed to be resolved outside of court by ZCCM-IH, the state mining investment corporation, he said on Tuesday.
“We must sit around the table and begin to discuss. We cannot solve these matters in court,” Kabuswe said at a press briefing streamed live on Facebook.
“I have since given an instruction to ZCCM-IH to quickly tell their lawyers to reach out to Vedanta’s lawyers.”
Vedanta spokesperson Masuzyo Ndhlovu said the mines minister’s comments are a “welcome development” and that the company has always been open to finding an “amicable solution” over its KCM asset.
Zambia in May 2019 handed control of KCM to a state-appointed provisional liquidator, triggering a protracted legal battle with owner Vedanta, with an international arbitration hearing now set for January next year.
KCM is one of Zambia’s key copper mining and smelting assets and Kabuswe said the country could not afford to wait for a lengthy arbitration process to be concluded.
“We are not going to mine in court,” Kabuswe said.