SMM7, 18 March: Zambian Mining Minister Richard Musukwa said on Wednesday that nine companies are expected to submit documents for the acquisition of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a subsidiary of Vedanta (Vedanta), and the government hopes to complete the bid within a few weeks.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu had previously said that the KCM had to be liquidated because of tax issues, which was strongly opposed by the KCM.
Vedanta said that urgent measures will be taken to protect its assets in Zambia and that while opening up dialogue with the government, it also reserves the right to seek international arbitration if necessary.
The dispute between the Zambian government and Vedanta has heightened concerns among other international miners about resource nationalism in Africa.
At the beginning of this year, Zambia has taken a number of initiatives to promote the development of its mining industry. Including the introduction of a new mining tax, requiring local imports of copper concentrate to impose a tariff of 5 per cent, aimed at ensuring the country's interests in natural resources.
Earlier this month Richard Musukwa, Zambia's mining minister, said Zambia was planning to pass a law requiring mining companies to give local suppliers a fair chance when purchasing.
Zambia, the second largest copper producer in Africa, produced 861960 tons of copper last year.
However, Zambia's copper production fell 11.3 per cent from January to March to 195244 tons from a month earlier, according to (Bank of Zambia), the Zambian central bank.