Zimplats hands over majority shares to government

The Zimbabwean government and mining firm Zimplats reached an agreement on Tuesday to transfer a 51% stake to local investors, as required by the country’s controversial “indigenisation” policy.

Zimplats, the division of the world’s second-largest platinum producer, Impala Platinum, gave 10% ownership to its workers, another 10% to a community trust in Ngezi where its mine is located, and 31% to the national Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.

“We have found each other during this meeting and I think it augurs very well for the mining industry in Zimbabwe,” said Implats chief executive, David Brown, during a meeting with Zimbabwean officials in Harare.

The Zimbabwean government last week threatened to nationalise Zimplats for non-compliance with the regulations and gave the company until Tuesday to hand in an acceptable plan.

Brown said the deal would “create a more stable investment environment”.

Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere hailed the agreement as a milestone, saying he hoped the messsage would be understood by other mining companies.

“Mining is a very important industry, we value the contributions made by Impala for the growth of our national economy but it’s also imperative that our people do benefit to the full extent from these resources,” said Kasukuwere.

“It is a historic moment for us as a country and I am sure we have set the stage for other countries also to bring about certainty in their different areas of jurisdiction,” he added.

President Robert Mugabe’s partner in the unity government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has warned that the law passed two years ago would discourage investment.

Foreign-owned companies like banks and retailers are also targeted by the law.—AFP

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