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Delays in Finalizing KCM Handover Agreement Raise Concerns Over Economic Impact on Chingola and Chililabombwe Residents

In a press statement released today, the Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement expressed their appreciation for the government’s efforts to resuscitate Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) but voiced concerns over the continued delay in finalizing the agreement. 

The Movement, led by Chishala Mwamba as the Movement Coordinator, highlighted the growing distress among communities in Chingola and Chililabombwe due to the prolonged negotiations.

The government’s announcement on September 5, 2023, regarding the return of KCM to Vedanta Resources had initially brought hope and excitement to Zambians, especially residents of Chingola and Chililabombwe. 

The community had high expectations that the agreement preparation and finalization would proceed swiftly to alleviate the poverty and unemployment challenges experienced in these areas.

However, as economic activity on the ground remains sluggish and the agreement’s finalization appears to be delayed, many community members are beginning to question the government’s intentions and express their despair. 

The Movement emphasized that time is of the essence, and the livelihoods of those on the Copperbelt are at stake.

The Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement drew attention to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning under Hon. Situmbeko Musokotwane, which is responsible for preparing the final agreements. 

They appealed to Hon. Musokotwane to prioritize the matter to prevent further suffering in the region. While acknowledging the Ministry’s busy agenda, they stressed that the people of the Copperbelt have endured significant poverty and unemployment and deserve swift action.

Vedanta Resources has made commitments, including investing over a billion US dollars in KCM, paying suppliers over $250 million dollars, and dedicating substantial resources to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, including over 400 million Kwacha per year. 

These commitments have generated enthusiasm within the communities, but the delay in finalizing the promised agreement is causing anxiety.

The Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement expressed hope that the remaining negotiations will be expedited, considering the extensive suffering experienced by the communities over the past four years. They urge all stakeholders to prioritize the well-being of the affected residents.

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