JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Vedanta Resources chairperson Anil Agarwal on Thursday shared his views on a path to growth for subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
He expressed confidence in what he sees as the start of an “African economic resurgence driven by various metals”.
He said Vedanta was fully committed to supporting KCM’s plans to increase production to 400 000 t/y in the next few years.
This growth will be driven by the injection of $700-million in funding into KCM, following Vedanta’s previous injection of $300-million.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Zambia-India Business Forum, Agarwal said KCM will build a new cobalt refinery, a coal-fired power plant, a training school for upskilling local talent and continue to invest in local communities in the areas of education, health, sport and poverty eradication and sustainable livelihoods.
“I was eager to come to Zambia almost 15 years ago at a time when KCM was facing a lot of challenges. We have now created a strong position for KCM after investing over $3-billion. Last year, I pledged to invest an extra $1-billion, and we are now targeting strong growth for KCM in the years ahead,” he commented.
Additionally, he said Zambia remains one of Africa’s preferred investment destinations and that further improvements to the investment climate, stability in the tax regime and affordable power would attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) to the country. Zambia has an excellent pool of talent, which Vedanta and KCM will continue to nurture, he added.
“Our desire is to have a win-win situation. The government must be happy, the Zambian public must be happy and our communities must flourish. We will maintain a continued focus on safety and the environment to realise this. We need to be patient, and we would ask our labour unions to be patient too. We plan to redeploy all the money we make to ensure the growth of KCM,” he added.
Agarwal, who spoke on a range of mining issues, touted South Africa as another attractive destination for FDI, in view of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s business friendly disposition, and he pointed to diversified miner Anglo American’s commitment to remain in South Africa as a positive turnaround.
“Anglo is very much a part of South Africa and they should be proud to remain in South Africa. I am happy that they have changed their mind about selling all their assets in South Africa. All this, I am sure, is because investor confidence has picked up in the wake of President Ramaphosa’s election,” he said.