Thursday, September 27, 2012

Zimbabwe Platinum Firms Comply With Indigenization Law

Platinum giants comply with indigenisation law

Thursday, 27 September 2012 00:00
Zimbabwe Herald

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
THE three biggest foreign platinum mining companies have submitted acceptable empowerment proposals, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said. Minister Kasukuwere, who was speaking in Beijing, said Government was happy with the
proposals of Zimplats, owned by Impala Platinum; Mimosa, a joint venture between Aquarius Platinum and Impala; and Anglo American Platinum-owned Unki Platinum.

The minister told international media that he was in the People’s Republic for talks with shareholders of Sino-steel Corporation with a view to indigenise its local operation, Zimasco.

“It’s looking good, as we are discussing finalising a few issues,” he said. “But I’m happy to say they are complying and they sent in their documents with proposals and upon my return we will talk further.”

Between them, Zimbabwe and South Africa hold more than three-quarters of the known platinum reserves in the world.

Mining has become an integral part of Zimbabwe’s economy, contributing 12 percent to the gross domestic product last year.

The sector accounts for about 60 percent of foreign exchange earnings and over half of annual exports.

According to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, foreign-owned companies are compelled to cede or sell at least 51 percent of their shares to black

Zimbabweans or State-controlled agencies.
Localisation of the mining sector followed the realisation that little benefits were accruing to local communities from which the finite resource was being extracted in huge quantities.

The Government also undertook indigenisation of the economy to bring the generality of the previously marginalised black Zimbabweans into the mainstream economic activities.

But a number of foreign-owned mines have generally been reluctant to relinquish control.
Impala, the world’s biggest platinum producer, after Anglo Platinum, in March agreed in principle to sell 31 percent of its Zimplats unit to a State agency and 20 percent to employees and communities.

Impala owns 87 percent of Zimplats.

Aquarius, which co-owns Mimosa Mining Company with Impala, in March submitted a proposal to hand over control of the operation to indigenous people, which Government accepted.

Minister Kasukuwere has now engaged the Chinese to have the ferrochrome producer transfer a majority stake in Zimasco to locals. “I’ve just had a meeting here in China with Sinosteel; it’s work still in progress, but it was a very good meeting,” he said. Sinosteel owns 73 percent shareholding in Zimasco.

Hundreds of other foreign-owned mining companies have submitted indigenisation plans, but a number are yet to be approved.

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