Vedanta chairman upbeat on Zambia’s growth prospects

Vedanta chairman upbeat on Zambia’s growth prospects

Anil Agarwal, the Chairman of Vedanta Resources, outlined a Path to Growth for the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a Zambian subsidiary of the diversified global mining and resources company.

The chairman also expressed confidence in what he sees as the start of an African economic resurgence driven by various metals.

Agarwal, who was on a two-day visit to Zambia, where he has attended the India-Zambia Business forum, said Vedanta was fully committed to supporting KCM’s plans to increase production to 400 000 metric tonnes per annum in the next few years. The growth will be driven by an injection of USD700-million, following Vedanta’s previous injection of USD300-million (comprising the USD1-billion pledge of fresh investments made by Agarwal in 2017).

Speaking on the sidelines of the Zambia-India Business forum, the chairman said that KCM will construct a new cobalt refinery, a coal-fired power plant, a training school for upskilling local talent and continue to invest in local communities in the areas of education, health, sport and poverty eradication and sustainable livelihoods.

Agarwal commented, “I was eager to come to Zambia almost 15 years ago at a time when KCM was facing a lot of challenges. We have now created a strong position for KCM after investing over USD3-billion. Last year I pledged to invest an extra USD1-billion. We are targeting strong growth for KCM in the years ahead.”

Agarwal said Zambia remains one of Africa’s preferred investment destinations and that further improvements to investment climate, stability in the tax regime and affordable power would attract still more foreign direct investment to the country. Zambia has an excellent pool of talent, which Vedanta and KCM will continue to nurture.

“Our desire is to have a win-win situation. The government must be happy the Zambian public must be happy, and our communities must flourish. We will maintain a continued focus on safety and the environment to realise this. We need to be patient, and we would ask our labour unions to be patient too. We plan to redeploy all the money we make to ensure the growth of KCM,” he added.

The chairman, who spoke on a wide range of mining issues, touted South Africa as another attractive destination for FDI, in view of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s business friendly disposition, and he pointed to Anglo American commitment to remain in South Africa as a positive turnaround.

“Anglo is very much a part of South Africa and they should be proud to remain in South Africa. I am happy that they have changed their mind about selling all their assets in South Africa. All this, I am sure, is because investor confidence has picked up in the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s election,” Agarwal said.

Agarwal has become the biggest individual shareholder in Anglo American after investing a part of his family’s wealth in the global mining firm.

The chairman projected a strong performance for aluminum and zinc on global markets and for a steady price for copper.

Agarwal concluded regarding south-south cooperation and investments, “India will need a lot of resources from Africa and this will strengthen cultural and economic relations between, for instance, Zambia and India.”


 

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