July 31, 2019 / 2:26 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Vedanta Resources launches arbitration in dispute with Zambia

(Adds detail, background)

JOHANNESBURG, July 31 (Reuters) - Vedanta Resources said on Wednesday it had notified its Zambian joint venture partner ZCCM-IH that it had launched arbitration proceedings related to an attempt by the Zambian government to liquidate Vedanta’s majority-owned Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).

Mumbai-listed Vedanta has been locked in a dispute with the Zambian government since May when Lusaka appointed a liquidator to run KCM, which is 20% owned by ZCCM, Zambia’s state mining company, and 80% owned by Vedanta. Zambia accused KCM of breaching the terms of its licence.

Vedanta denies that KCM has broken the terms of its licence and says it will defend its assets in the southern African country.

Vedanta said the notice demands that arbitration should be in accordance with United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration rules.

Last week South Africa’s High Court ordered the Zambian government to halt the sale of KCM until a final decision is made through arbitration, but Zambia’s mines minister said it would appeal the ruling and press on with the wind-up.

The dispute in Africa’s second-largest copper producer has intensified concerns among international miners about resource nationalism in Africa. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Susan Fenton and Kirsten Donovan)

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