June 11, 2019 / 6:28 AM / 3 months ago

Vedanta to challenge winding up of Zambian business in court

FILE PHOTO: A bird flies past the logo of Vedanta installed on the facade of its headquarters in Mumbai, India January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Vedanta Resources on Tuesday plans to challenge the appointment of a provisional liquidator and the intended winding up of its Zambian business without the chance to be heard through lawyers of its choice, documents filed in court show.

According to a notice filed in court on June 6, Vedanta wants to be represented by lawyers Nchito & Nchito and not those appointed by the provisional liquidator.

A court hearing following Zambia’s decision to name the provisional liquidator to run Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) business was adjourned until Tuesday without tackling the company’s demands to be involved, Vedanta said last week.

Vedanta Resources, part-owner of the Mumbai-listed Vedanta group of companies, is KCM’s majority shareholder, while Zambian state mining company ZCCM-IH holds a stake of about 20%.

Vedanta wants the court to determine “whether a confirmation of the provisional liquidator and the compulsory liquidation can be conducted without the company or its directors being heard through lawyers of their choice,” the notice reads.

Vedanta also wants the court to determine whether the lawyers appointed by the provisional liquidator on its behalf can appear in court to represent it.

“It is illogical to expect that lawyers appointed by the provisional liquidator can oppose his appointment and present an independent case in opposition of the liquidation,” it says.

Zambia’s decision to name a provisional liquidator to run KCM, one of the country’s biggest employers, has unnerved international miners concerned about rising resource nationalism in Zambia and neighbouring countries.

The Zambian government says KCM has breached the terms of its licence.

Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Tom Hogue

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