UK’s Vedanta Resources to invest $1bn in Zambian copper mine

By bne IntelliNews March 27, 2017

The UK-listed diversified resource and mining company Vedanta Resources will invest $1bn in its Zambian mining unit Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), creating 7,000 jobs, the mining firm said in a statement on March 24.

According to Vedanta Resources' chairman, Anil Agrawal, the company plans to invest $1bn for the next phase of a 50-year expansion plan. "The ramp-up of Konkola is the centerpiece of my 50-year vision for KCM. It’s technically very challenging, because of the massive amount of water we have to pump out of the mine, but I’m determined to find technical solutions," Agarwal said.

Agrawal also said he wanted KCM to be the biggest integrated copper producer in Africa.

Vedanta Resources has invested about $4bn to upgrade and expand Zambia's largest mining company, which produces 168,923 tons/year of finished copper.

Vedanta Resources owns 79.4% share of KCM and operates underground mines plus open pit mines as well as metallurgical plants at Nchanga, Konkola, Nkana and Nampundwe.

KCM was forced to pay a $103mn fine to the Zambian government after a British court ruled against Vedanta and in favour of the Zambian government. The claim was for outstanding payments under a 2013 copper price participation settlement agreement between KCM and Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investments

There could be further trouble on the horizon for Zambian copper miners. Last week Copperbelt Energy Corp warned in its 2016 annual report that Zambian copper miners could face a power bill of more than $276mn if they lose a dispute with the government over electricity tariff rise. If the High Court rules in favour of the energy regulator and its tariff increases, the supplier will be ordered to pay state-owned power producer Zesco $276mn in outstanding fees, which would force the company to  pass the cost onto customers, according to Copperbelt.



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