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Lobby group emerges on Konkola, Mopani mines, plans protests in favour of Vedanta as core investor


A pro-Vedanta Resources lobby group has written to Copperbelt Police Chief, Peacewell Mweemba, on its intention to hold peaceful demonstrations to press for a quick action on Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) and Mopani Copper Mine.

In a letter addressed to the Copperbelt Police Chief on Tuesday, the Vedanta Must Return Campaign Movement said the lobby group had scheduled a peaceful protest on August 25, 2023 to ask the government to quickly act on KCM and Mopani.

“The main objective of the protests in Mufulira, Ndola and Chilibombwe is to demand for the government to quicken the negotiation process with Vedanta and hasten the process for identifying an investor for Mopani because poverty and unemployment levels are rising due to non-operationalisation of the two mines,” movement coordinator, Chishala Mwamba, said.

Read more: ‘Copperbelt region may erupt in protests,’ ex-Minister Lusambo warns as KCM, Mopani mines issues fester

He noted that various cabinet ministers in the government had promised the nation on several occasions that the issues would be concluded soon without results.

Mwamba said the delay had become too hard to ignore, hence the scheduled protest to press for a quick action.

Zambia Monitor had severally reported the festering crisis over Konkola and Mopani mines, and how top officials of the ruling party had tried to rationalize delays in announcing new investors.

Only recently some hardcore critics had argued that speculations on Vedanta returning to manage the mines did not offer renewed hope, as the company was experiencing a downturn in its fortunes.

Read more: Mine workers Union regrets govt delays to announce Konkola, Mopani new investors

A policy analyst and ex-miner, James Musonda, has questioned the motive behind the planned protests, given recent global developments around Vedanta.

On his part, an economist, Lubinda Haabazoka, recalled the recent downgrade of Vedanta Resources by S&P Global Ratings from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’, and its implications for the firm’s capacity to manage change.

Haabazoka had argued that it was a signal that the company may not be a good partner to take up the ownership of KCM.

On Thursday, S&P Global Ratings cut its outlook on Vedanta Resources parent of Indian metals-to-oil conglomerate Vedanta Ltd (VDAN.NS), to “negative” from “stable,” citing increased funding risks.

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