UK apex court to take call on Vedanta case
Britain’s Supreme Court will decide if over 1,800 Zambian villagers can take Vedanta and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines, to court in the UK over allegations relating to the pollution of a river there.
Lower courts had previously upheld the jurisdiction of the UK courts in the case, which Vedanta has appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. The issue will be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a decision expected by April.
The villagers, represented by UK law firm Leigh Day, say that their water sources and farm land have been contaminated by KCM’s copper mining operation over the past 15 years, resulting in health problems and harm to crops.
The villagers allege that both Vedanta and KCM were aware of the discharge of harmful effluent into the waterways, which the villagers used as their primary source of clean water for drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and other purposes, and point to studies — including a 2014 Zambian government report — that noted high levels of toxicity.