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Vedanta Resources seek to block water contamination case affecting 1800 villagers heard in the UK; argue case involved its subsidiary in Zambia

Author, Mail & Guardian, 24 January 2019

"Zambian Villagers await outcome of UK mining firm's pollution case appeal"

Vedanta Resources in fresh appeal to have water contamination claim brought by 1,800 people heard in Zambia...the mining company has appealed to the supreme court to prevent 1,800 Zambian villagers bringing a pollution case involving its subsidiary from being tried in the UK. Lawyers for Vedanta Resources told Britain’s highest court that the case – brought by villagers who allege that their land and livelihoods were destroyed by water contamination from Vedanta-owned Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) – should be heard in Zambia instead.

The UK courts have resisted previous attempts by Vedanta to have the case moved. Last year, the court of appeal upheld a high court ruling that the Zambian claimants had a legal right to bring their claim against a British company, citing KCM’s “opaque finances” as one reason the claimants may not be granted justice in Zambia....The supreme court’s decision, expected in April, could set a precedent for “duty of care” owed by a UK parent company to the communities affected by a foreign subsidiary, said Marilyn Croser, director of Core, a British civil society network focusing on corporate accountability...The ruling – if decided in favour of the claimants – could have major implications for British multinationals with operations abroad. Leigh Day, is seeking the right to appeal to the supreme court regarding a claim by Nigerian farmers and fishermen against Royal Dutch Shell in London, in relation to oil spills in the Niger Delta.

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Related companies: Vedanta Resources