Vedanta Base Metals seeks to resume operations at its Konkola Copper Mines unit in Zambia, through a range of financing partnerships.
Vedanta Base Metals CEO, Chris Griffith said on Wednesday that the company is considering a range of financing partners to secure funding for a restart of its Konkola Copper Mines unit in Zambia.
When the minority stake is sold, Vedanta will remain the majority shareholder, Griffith added in a meeting on the sidelines of an African mining conference in Cape Town.
“We are in the fundraising process at the moment to raise $ 1.3 billion,” he said.
Several outcomes, “one of which is a potential equity sale into Vedanta’s 80% that we own in KCM,” are all on the table.
Last September, Zambia agreed to return control of KCM to Vedanta, after an ownership dispute that erupted in 2019 when Zambian authorities seized it. It has now returned to Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal.
Vedanta retains a majority stake and operational control in KCM, while the Zambian government owns a 20% stake through State firm ZCCM-IH.
Depending on the structure of the deal, the funding could be raised in stages, Griffith said.
Relationship between Zambia and Vedanta went south after former President Edgar Lungu’s government seized the KCM assets and forced liquidation in May 2019.
Lungu accused the company of refusing to increase mining output.
With that, operations nearly grounded to a halt and the company is now “heavily loss-making”, Griffith said.
The CEO said after taking over the operational control of assets, Vedanta could raise copper output at KCM’s mines to about 200,000 t.
“We have a plan, we know what needs to be done, so the moment we get the keys back, we start,” said Griffith, a South African mining expert, who was hired to run the base metals section in 2023.
Vedanta has pledged about $ 1 billion in spending on the operations over the last five years.