KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) chief executive officer Christopher Sheppard says the Lusaka High Court’s decision to throw out the injunction it had earlier granted Vedanta against the splitting of the mine will allow for the restructuring and reorganisation without any constraints.

And Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Andrew Chewe has welcomed the ruling and urged Vedanta to let go of the mine because they failed to manage since 2004.

In a statement, Monday, Sheppard hailed the ruling as a progressive step forward in Provisional Liquidator Milingo Lungu’s planned splitting of the mine.

He added that management would also resume the distribution of employment offer letters to employees who will be employed by either the Konkola Mining Resources Limited or KCM SmelterCo Limited.

“The Court’s ruling to dismiss the injunction means that the restructuring and re-organisation of the company, which was announced on 28th December, 2020, by the Provisional Liquidator, Mr Milingo Lungu, will now continue without any constraints. The Human Capital Management (HCM) will resume the distribution of letters of employment offered to employees today 1st February, 2021, who will be employed by either the Konkola Mining Resources Limited or KCM SmelterCo Limited. Other relevant departments and functions will proceed with effecting their respective and appropriate actions to effect the restructuring and re-organisation. Employees who receive letters of employment offer should respond to those letters by close of business on 2nd February, 2021, in order for management to expedite the entire process,” Sheppard said in a management brief.

He reiterated Milingo’s claim that the planned restructuring of the mining company would increase the mine’s efficiency.

“The Provisional Liquidator and management encourages employees and business partners to keep in mind that the restoration of KCM’s technical health remains our key objective and that our efforts should be directed to this. In restructuring KCM, it is the PL’s and KCM Management’s considered view that this will increase efficiency and business opportunities, as well as asset and resource optimisation. Work Safely. Continue to observe COVID-19 guidelines,” stated Sheppard.

“After the dismissal of the injunction, management expects employees to continue with the spirit of ensuring safety in the workplace, hard work and commitment to uplifting KCM to become a major global copper producer. We expect all employees and our business partners to adhere to safety protocols that are in place because safe production is the hallmark of our focus to improve production and operational efficiency. Management also encourages everyone associated with KCM to follow the COVID-19 guidelines to protect yourselves and other people that you come in contact with on a daily basis.”

And in an interview, Chewe argued that Vedanta should forget about coming back to Zambia due to their poor management of the asset.

“Ba fwaya uku bula aba bonfi, ifi fyonse ifyaba Vedanta bafwaya fyabupuba, bafwaya indalama yaba bonfi, Vedanta alelya ku India uko, aleisa muku leta confusion mu Zambia. Nga niku fyalo fimbi ngatamuchita na entertain. So, ba court balichita fye bwino sana paku posa ilya injunction. Lekeni aba bonfi bafoleko indalama beshibe na, liquidatator alifye bwino, company alishile awisha Vedanta. Vedanta filya ashile awisha echo engakatilila eh, aliya ulya, taka bwele. Twalimu tamfya, aba bonfi balimutanfya, taba mufwaya, alishile aonaula mine. So, naekale fye ku India ukokwine, na bale mu supporter nga kuli ama Zambians beshibe ati baledilikisha ichalo, because we hear some people bala mu supporter, bale folako ulupiya elo bale lwisha so ulya ulupiya uubapela Vedanta, babike fye, ifilonda asha mu Zambia ngani ku fyalo fimbi, bonse ngala twali ima,” said Chewe.

“(They try to deprive the workers, this whole Vedanta thing they want is nonsense! They want the workers’ money. While Vedanta is eating in India, they are coming to bring confusion in Zambia. If it was in another country, they wouldn’t have been entertained! So, the court has done well by throwing out the injunction. Allow the workers to get paid, the liquidator is just okay, Vedanta left the company down. Why is Vedanta trying to hold onto what it couldn’t manage? That one is gone, he is not coming back! We chased him, the workers chased him, they destroyed the mine. So, they just remain in India and even those who are supporting him, if there are Zamians, they should know that they are sinking the country because we hear some people are supporting Vedanta, they are getting paid and fighting for him, they should keep that money because the damage Vedanta has left in Zambia, if it was in another country, there would have been an uprising!)”