SARW urges govt to keep an eye on KCM

SARW urges govt to keep an eye on KCM

SOUTHERN Africa Resource Watch says the government must keep an eye on KCM and act decisively to protect Zambians' interests in the mine.

Commenting on the protests by scores of people in London against Vedanta Resources, the majority shareholder in Konkola Copper Mines, Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) country coordinator, Edward Lange, said the mineral resources in Zambia were being literally looted because the mining communities and the country at large were not seeing tangible benefits.

He said KCM was expected to show remorse and take a re-look at its past record in relation to the revelations and make amends with the people not only in Zambia, but across the globe. Lange said the actions of those calling on the British government to investigate the alleged Vedanta's robbery of resources and establish the volumes of copper leaving Zambia's mines were justified.

"Just look at how many people have been taking part in such protests since 2011. It's disappointing that KCM can even say these protests are being done by misguided NGOs. Foil Vedanta is not an NGO, but a group of concerned activists, who have for some time now been observing the behaviour of this multinational corporation around the globe. We wish to warn, Konkola Copper Mines that our keeping quiet as civil society and civil rights activists in Zambia does not mean that we don't have the facts or are misguided, but a sign of respect and confidence in our Zambian government as they have promised to keep an eye on its operations and ensure that the interests of the Zambians are safeguarded," Lange said.

He said those that protested in London on Friday on the operations of Vedanta Resources in Zambia through its subsidiary, KCM, were activists that spent time in Zambia and interacted with the local
community.

Lange said the activists gathered adequate information both from the host community members, technocrats and other reliable sources, which was just added to the authenticated information they already had about Vedanta.

"As civil society institutions supporting mining host community, we have a lot of information and will wait for the government of Zambia, through the committee of experts constituted to look into such matters to conclude its work and then engage all stakeholders, but if KCM pushes its luck further, we will have no option but to react, as we have the capacity to do that," said Lange.

According to a statement posted on Foil Vedanta's website, the activists demanded that some of the revelations in its groundbreaking report titled, 'Copper Colonialism: British Miner Vedanta KCM and the
copper loot of Zambia' are addressed by Vedanta and the Zambian government.

And British High Commissioner to Zambia, James Thornton, on Saturday said people were free to protest against Vedanta's operations in its Zambian mine, KCM, and urged multinational companies to ensure they paid adequate taxes.

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