CHIEF Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya has disclosed that Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) is owing government more tan K3 billion in unpaid taxes.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Ministry of Information headquarters in Lusaka, Siliya said government is also owing KCM K1.9 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT) refund accumulation of which K1.4 billion of the said amount had already been audited.

Siliya, who is also Information Minister, said that claims by KCM owners Vendetta that they were facing operation challenges due to nonpayment of VAT refund were misplaced.

Siliya said the liquidation of KCM was the dissolving of the partnership between the Zambia Consolidated Copper Miner Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) and Vendetta but the operations of the mine will continue.

“Vendetta trying to hold government at ransom will not work, we have been engaging KCM in talks since 2013 to address issues and we have reached a point where the partnership just have to end,” she said.

The Minister said speculations that the liquidation of KCM will lead to job losses and the closure of the mine were unfounded.

Siliya said when KCM announced that they were going to lay off 1,600 workers in 2013, government constituted a technical team to evaluate the move and it was discovered that there were challenges at the mine among them the threat of insolvency and the liability of the firm had exceeded the asset by USD $157 million.

Meanwhile, Vedanta founder and Chairperson Anil Agarwal said the company strived to comply with the laws and the tax requirements of the country and all cash generated had been invested in the mine.

Agarwal said KCM paid approximately USD $1.3 billion to government through taxes and royalties and did not understand why ZCCM-IH had gone to court to seek the appointment of a provisional liquidator.

He said that his firm had been asking government to pay them VAT refunds, remove duty on concentrates and reduce the cost of power.

Agarwal said the liquidation of KCM would hurt the country’s democracy and investor friendly status and could make other investors shun the country

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