Nine companies have shown interest in taking over Zambia's largest copper miner, the mines minister said on Wednesday, adding that bids were expected to be submitted over the coming weeks.
Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is at the centre of a legal battle between its London-based majority owner, Vedante Resources, and Zambian President Edgar Lungu, who has vowed to dissolve the firm.
Vedante Resources has started legal proceedings in South Africa and Zambia aimed at blocking KCM's dismantlement.
"As the court process is going on we have a lot of interested companies wanting to take over...In fact there are nine," said minister Richard Musukwa.
The bidding process could be completed "within the coming few weeks," he said.
The companies eyeing KCM are from Australia, Canada, China, Russia and Turkey.
Zambia is Africa's second copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo, accounting for 12 percent of GDP in 2016, according to the World Bank.
Zambia is grappling with growing debt, prompting to Lungu to hone in on mining for tax revenue.
He has told international mining companies opposing his fiscal policies to leave the country.
Judgement on KCM is expected on July 23 in the high court of Johannesburg.
But Musukwa told reporters the bidding process would start before the verdict, and he was confident Zambia would win the case.
"We are very aware that the court processes are taking place but we have a government to run and our people to protect," said Musukwa.
"We have a strong case and even if they took us anywhere on earth we will still win because KCM has abrogated on the license."