Foreign miners submit Zimbabwe ownership plan

HARARE – Angloplat and Implats, the world's top platinum miners, are cooperating with Zimbabwe on proposals to sell majority shares in their local operations to blacks, a government minister said on Monday.

A government notice issued on March 25 by Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere gave miners 45 days to provide plans on how they would comply with a law that seeks to give stakes of at least 51 percent to locals.

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“Most of the major mines are with us; they are co-operating. What is left is for us to evaluate the substance of their co-operation to see if it meets our expectations,” Kasukuwere told Reuters.

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Although 45 days have passed, “the closing date is not today, because it is 45 days excluding public holidays and weekends,” Kasukuwere said. This calculation would extend the deadline to June 2.

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Foreign mining companies then have until September 30 to comply with the law and surrender 51 percent.

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Kasukuwere told Reuters last week Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped government would not pay any money for the mining stakes but would base any payment negotiations on the state’s ownership of the southern African country’s untapped mineral wealth.

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He said on Monday Kazakh mining group ENRC and Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco), which is owned by Sinosteel of China, had also submitted their local ownership proposals.

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“The companies are continuing to come in with their plans,” he said.

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The coalition government, formed by bitter foes President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is divided over the implementation of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, signed into law in 2008. Critics say will hurt the country’s economic recovery prospects.

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Tsvangirai has called the empowerment drive “looting and plunder by greedy elite”.

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Global miner Rio Tinto and African-focused miner Mwana Africa, which all have operations in Zimbabwe, did not respond when asked whether they had submitted their proposals.