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By Nicholas Bariyo
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Bailiffs seized some mining equipment, vehicles and up to 1,000 metric tons of copper concentrates from Kansanshi Copper Mines last week to cover debt the company owes to local authorities, a company official told Dow Jones Newswires Monday.
The bailiffs were acting for the Solwezi Municipal Council which says Kansanshi owes it up to 7.5 billion Zambian Kwacha ($1.5 million) in ground rates, the official said, speaking by telephone from Solwezi, in Zambia’s North Western province.
“They raided company premises on Wednesday last week and took with them a lot of company property,” she said, adding that the seizure of mining machinery had hurt operations. Kansanshi, Zambia’s largest single copper mine by output is owned by Toronto-listed First Quantum Minerals (FM.T).
Since last year, management has been in a dispute with municipal authorities over ground rates. Last week, a Zambian high court judge threw out a company application for a judicial review of the dispute prompting the authorities to take their action.
Kansanshi Mine public relations manager Geoffrey Msiska told Zambia local media over the weekend that some of the seized property including 12 trucks loaded with copper concentrates didn’t belong to the mine.
He warned the bailiffs to prepare for litigation with the owners of the finished copper cathodes destined for Durban. Solwezi Council could not be immediately reached to comment.
-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; +256-75-2624615; firstname.lastname@example.org
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