KONKOLA Copper Mines parent company, Vedanta Resources, insists that while it intends to fully defend its legal rights, the company remains open to dialogue over the Zambian government’s placing of the mine under provisional liquidation.
“Vedanta does not consider that there are just and equitable grounds to wind-up KCM and will defend all attempts to do so,” it insists.
Vedanta noted that the Lusaka High Court considered preliminary issues raised by ZCCM’s lawyers before hearing the joinder application. Judge Anessie Banda-Bobo reserved her judgment on the preliminary issues until next week on Tuesday and then proceed to hear the joinder application.
Vedanta is arguing that ZCCM has chosen a route which seeks to exclude Vedanta, by having a Provisional Liquidator [Milingo Lungu] appointed ex-parte.
Vedanta’s application was to allow the company to appear and make representations at any hearing in the winding-up proceedings, including in relation to the appointment of the Provisional Liquidator and the hearing of the winding-up petition.
A date has not yet been set for the hearing in relation to the confirmation of the appointment of the Provisional Liquidator.
Vedanta has stated that it “does not consider that there are just and equitable grounds to wind-up KCM and will defend all attempts to do so”.
According to a statement dated June 4, Vedanta states that under KCM’s shareholder agreement, Vedanta, ZCCM and the government of Zambia agreed a process to amicably resolve disputes about the business.
Vedanta argues that the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investments Holdings violated this agreement when it chose to initiate court proceedings instead of using the dispute resolution mechanism.
“Vedanta launched the dispute resolution process defined by the shareholders agreement by serving ZCCM with notice of a dispute on 30 May 2009 . This is intended to allow good faith negotiations to take place,” it states. “If the dispute remains outstanding for longer than 30 days, it may then be referred to international arbitration. The dispute process is separate but parallel the legal proceedings mentioned above. While Vedanta intends to fully defend its legal rights, the company remains open to dialogue. It believes that the dispute resolution process is the best mechanism for the resolution of this dispute as it will provide expeditious and appropriate outcomes for all parties (including the many thousands of people employed by KCM).”