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Zambian government cancels work permit of Konkola's CEO

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November 11
5:53 AM 2013

The Zambian unit of Vedanta Resources Plc sent a letter of apology to the president of the biggest copper producer in Africa. This comes after the African country had revoked the work permit of its chief executive officer.

Zambia's biggest investor is Konkola Copper Mines Plc and it had publicly said, "It wishes to unreservedly apologize to the president of the Republic of Zambia and the nation for the unfortunate remarks' published in the media, the company, based in Chingola."

The government had cancelled the work permit of CEO Kishore Kumar after Konkola announced the dismissal of 1,529 workers. Zambian President Michael Sata had said the government would cancel its license should it terminate the employment of any of the workers. According to Labor Minister Fackson Shamenda had quoted Kumar commenting on the President's remarks as 'mere rhetoric'. This was reported in the Zambian owned Daily Mail in November 8.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mwansa Kapeya, in an interview by mobile phone from Lusaka, the capital said, referring to the CEO's comments, "He was being very arrogant." Kapeya added that Kumar, who assumed the position of CEO last August, will not be allowed into the country.

In another news report from a state-owned newspaper, the Times of Zambia, headlined "KCM defies Sata", as it reported last November 6 the firing of 76 employees since last September 19.

Konkola had also said it fully respects Sata's directive not to terminate any workers and the reported dismissals were at best inaccurate. It made these remarks in a statement published in a newspaper from Lusaka today. Kumar was flown out of the country on a scheduled business trip to South Africa last November 8, the company confirmed.

A Konkola spokeswoman, who sought anonymity because of company policy, declined to make any comment on the matter. Kumar didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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