Ex-Mines Minister, Richard Musukwa, is doubtful about Vedanta Resources fulfilling most of the commitments it has made to government and Zambians.
Musukwa in an interview on Saturday with journalists speculated that Vedanta Resources would most likely not fulfil most of the commitments it had made to government and Zambians, as was the case in the past.
On September 5, 2023, Pushpender Singla, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of Vedanta Zinc International South Africa, announced several commitments following the Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) deal.
Among the commitments made were US$1 billion investment in KCM development, US$250 million payment to all local creditors and US$20 million investment into the local community (CSR)every year through a special purpose vehicle a Community Trust.
Other commitments were 20 percent increase in salaries for employees and one-off K2500 payment to all employees.
“The negotiations with all the stakeholders in the dispute may have taken a little longer than initially anticipated, this was necessary for the benefit of all parties and the entire country as we needed to take care of all salient points in this agreement.
“The Parties are working towards concluding revisions to the Shareholders’ Agreement and its implementation. We are ready to contribute to the Zambian Government’s projection to attain the three million annual copper production in the next 10 years as it is imperative for us to tap into such an ambitious output level,” he said.
But Musukwa expressed doubt if all these commitments would be met, looking at the negative history of the company in the country.
He challenged Vedanta to pay suppliers and contractors at once and that even the US$1 billion dollars investment must be paid in one goal because it was a drop in an ocean based on the mines value.
He also noted that if Vedanta worked differently, credit must be given to the ex-ruling party, the Patriotic Front, for making it realise that workers interests come first.
“If there is any action that Vedanta will take in the interest of the workers, mining contractors and suppliers then it must be credited to the PF having taken action earlier which taught Vedanta a lesson to behave themselves as an investor,” Musukwa said.
In response, Paul Kabuswe, Mines and Mineral Development Minister, said government was looking for the best in KCM and that Vedanta Resources would be closely monitored to avoid any form of misconduct.
“We delayed to make a decision because President Hakainde Hichilema was determined that the decision to hand over KCM back to Vedanta should be people-centered. We took the interest of the workers, the suppliers and the population where KCM is domiciled. We want to see KCM succeed,” Kabuswe said.
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