JOHANNESBURG – Zambia will press ahead with the legal process to liquidate Vedanta Resources' local copper unit, President Edgar Lungu said, as a ruling about the matter was postponed to June 11.
“We are resolved, we are determined to proceed with the liquidation process,” Lungu said Tuesday in comments broadcast online. “We are going to make sure Vedanta goes and a new investor comes in.”
State-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings won a provisional order to wind up Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines on May 21, three days after Lungu threatened the company with “divorce” for lying about expansion plans and cheating on taxes. Vedanta, owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, says it’s a “loyal investor” that’s spent more than $3-billion in the country since 2004.
A High Court in the capital, Lusaka, dealt with preliminary issues on Tuesday but has not yet heard Vedanta’s application to join the case, which will be key to fighting the liquidation. The court is expected to deliver a ruling on June 11, according to an emailed statement from Vedanta.
At the same time, Vedanta has started a dispute resolution process against ZCCM-IH, which it accuses of violating a shareholders’ agreement – the first step toward international arbitration between the two companies.