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First President Dr Kenneth Kaunda hails Vedanta's Zambia investments

Founding President Kenneth Kaunda has hailed the $2.5 billion investments into Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) by London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc saying this is the type of investment that enabled his government to provide free education to Zambians.

Dr Kaunda, who paid a courtesy call at KCM on Thursday said he was impressed with the focus of investments at KCM after the company's CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj ran down a list of investments in upgrades and expansions since Vedanta took over the mine's assets six years ago.

Dr Kaunda said KCM had positioned its investments in a way that helps to grow the Zambian economy, thereby bringing major benefits to its citizens.

KCM's investments has gone into fresh mineral explorations, expansions of existing assets and development of new projects such as the Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP), the Nchanga Upper Ore Body (UOB) and expansion of Open Pits at Nchanga to increase production and extend mine life.

The company has also constructed a state-of-the-art flash smelter, which apart from capturing approximately 99 percent sulphur dioxide and is a globally acclaimed facility at Nchanga, two new concentrators at Nchanga and Konkola and also invested in a modern refinery at Nkana in Kitwe.

"Free education is not possible without you (the investors) paying tax, you are working so hard ... without you it is not possible to provide free education," Dr Kaunda told Mr Janakaraj and other senior management staff during a briefing.

"This investment is amazing."

Dr Kaunda told Zambian mining experts during the meeting to "make good use of the investments at KCM to ensure future generations continued to enjoy the benefit accrued from mining operations of their natural wealth.

Dr Kaunda also paid tribute to Vedanta Resources Plc Chairman Anil Agarwal for focusing to grow the company's mining footprint on the continent of Africa after he learned Vedanta had invested in Namibia, South Africa and Liberia.

Mr Janakaraj said KCM was pushing ahead with its growth path to extend the life of mine and contribute to the development of both the Zambia economy and its human resource.

"The KDMP and UOB have been on the drawing board for close to 30 years but we have executed everything and the execution has been quite fast," Mr Janakaraj said.

Mr Janakaraj said KCM remained committed to developing the local human resource by sponsoring its employees, grade 12 school leavers from its Trust schools and others from government-run schools to study at local and foreign higher learning institutions to ensure there was a continuous inflow of qualified personnel.