Zambia’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is not producing copper, the chief executive of the mining firm’s owner Vedanta Resources said on Friday.
Vedanta is fighting Zambia’s decision this month to name a provisional liquidator to run Vedanta Resources’ 90,000 tonnes KCM business and said in a statement that it was seeking international arbitration.
Legal proceedings in Zambia have been adjourned to June 4. Zambia’s Chamber of Mines said last week that Africa’s second largest copper producer was at risk of a drastic fall in copper output because of recent tax changes.
“From what we understand, there is not any production coming out of the mine,” Vedanta Resources CEO Srinivaan Vekatakrishnan said on a conference call on Friday.
A mining industry source with knowledge of KCM’s operations said it had not been in production for several weeks.
“They owe a lot of money and with no mining taking place for several weeks, even concentrate suppliers want first to be paid outstanding amounts and upfront payments for fresh supplies,” the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
KCM miners were paid this week after a delay of around three days.
(By Chris Mfula and Barbara Lewis; Editing by Alexander Smith)