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1,826 Zambian villagers are taking legal action against UK based Vedanta Resources plc (Vedanta) and its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).

They are members of four artisanal farming communities next to the Nchanga Copper Mine operated by Vedanta’s subsidiary KCM. Vedanta bought a controlling share in KCM in 2004.

The communities, Shimulala, Kakosa, Hippo Pool and Hellen claim that polluted water is affecting their health and causing illnesses and permanent injuries. Their primary source of water for drinking, washing, bathing and irrigating farms are these waters.

The claimants’ primary source of livelihood is through farming as well as some fishing from the rivers. The alleged pollution has devastated crops and affected fishing greatly impacting the earnings of the local people.

Leigh Day issued proceedings on behalf of the villagers against Vedanta and KCM at the High Court in London in July 2015. In September 2015 both Vedanta and KCM challenged the jurisdiction of the English courts to hear the claims. In May 2016  Mr Justice Coulson’s granted jurisdiction over the claims, but the defendants sought and obtained permission to appeal. Their appeals will be heard in July 2017.

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