Picture: Reuters.

JOHANNESBURG - The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday granted Vedanta Resources an urgent interim order blocking minority shareholder Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) from liquidating Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).

The Indian-owned mining company is fighting the Zambian government's decision, through ZCCM, to appoint provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu to wind up KCM operations after Lusaka accused Vedanta of breaching the terms of its mining licence.

Tuesday's interim interdict was granted after two days of argument in court last week, where Vedanta contended that ZCCM had breached and continued  to breach the KCM shareholders' agreement by instituting the proceedings against KCM.

It argued that ZCCM had pushed ahead with the provisional liquidator instead of reverting to the agreed-upon dispute resolution mechanism for shareholder disputes.

The granting of the interim interdict means that, pending the final outcome of an arbitration process, ZCCM should immediately withdraw its winding-up proceedings.

It also means that provisional liquidator Lungu is discharged from office. ZCCM was also ordered to pay Vedanta's legal costs for three counsel who applied for the interdict. 

In a statement, Vedanta said it welcomed the ruling by Judge Adams and reiterated its commitment to resolving the dispute with ZCCM via arbitration.

 - African News Agency (ANA)