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Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 8:30:55 PM
Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 8:30:56 PM
Zambia's President Michael Sata addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar
LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambian President Michael Sata threatened on Monday to revoke the licence of Konkola Copper Mines, owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources, if the company goes through with a plan to lay off more than 1,500 workers.
"If he is threatening to lay off people let him lay off one and we will take away the licence from him," Sata told state-run ZNBC radio, referring to Konkola chief executive Kishore Kumar, who announced the plan to cut jobs last week.
Konkola officials were not immediately available to comment.
The company said on Friday that it plans to cut the jobs by March as the firm automates its mines in Africa's top copper producer.
Sata is a populist who swept to power two years ago on a platform that promised an activist state to defend workers in the southern African country, and Lusaka has made similar threats against other foreign investors recently.
The government last month threatened to shut Shoprite stores after the South African retailer fired 3,000 workers who went on strike over pay.
Shoprite, Africa's biggest retailer, backtracked on the sackings.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Ed Stoddard)
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