Zim will not back away from mine stake plans

Zim will not back away from mine stake plans

HARARE – Zimbabwe will not back away from controversial proposals to take majority stakes in foreign-owned mining companies although it is consulting the industry over the proposals, the official Herald newspaper said yesterday.

Earlier this month, Mines Minister Amos Midzi shook the mining sector when he said President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet had approved changes to mine laws “to indigenise 51 per cent in some instances of all foreign owned companies”. Among foreign mining firms active in Zimbabwe are the world’s two biggest platinum miners Anglo Platinum Ltd and Implats .Mining giant Rio Tinto also has interests in the country.The government proposals must first be tabled in parliament, where Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party enjoys a comfortable majority, for approval before coming into law.The Herald quoted Midzi as saying foreign-owned mining firms had acknowledged the need for the empowerment of locals in the sector.”There is growth (in the mining sector) and we cannot ignore the objectives and need for Zimbabweans to take their rightful place in ownership,” said Midzi, after a tour of Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) .”We shall not be deviated from that policy, but, of course, we are taking into account representations made by the industry,” he added.Last Friday Implats, which owns a majority stake in Zimplats, said its officials had conducted “frank” discussions with Mugabe over the proposals which would see the government take a 51 per cent stake in mines, half of it for free.Zimbabwe’s Chamber of Mines said after a meeting with Midzi last week the proposed legislative amendments would have a negative impact on the industry which relies heavily on foreign investment for growth.Central bank Governor Gideon Gono has also said the new laws could further hurt the southern African nation’s economy, already saddled with chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, the world’s highest inflation rate and soaring unemployment.The mining sector remains one of few in Zimbabwe with a significant level of foreign involvement after Mugabe’s controversial seizure of white-owned commercial farms for blacks drove many international investors away.- Nampa-ReutersAmong foreign mining firms active in Zimbabwe are the world’s two biggest platinum miners Anglo Platinum Ltd and Implats .Mining giant Rio Tinto also has interests in the country.The government proposals must first be tabled in parliament, where Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party enjoys a comfortable majority, for approval before coming into law.The Herald quoted Midzi as saying foreign-owned mining firms had acknowledged the need for the empowerment of locals in the sector.”There is growth (in the mining sector) and we cannot ignore the objectives and need for Zimbabweans to take their rightful place in ownership,” said Midzi, after a tour of Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) .”We shall not be deviated from that policy, but, of course, we are taking into account representations made by the industry,” he added.Last Friday Implats, which owns a majority stake in Zimplats, said its officials had conducted “frank” discussions with Mugabe over the proposals which would see the government take a 51 per cent stake in mines, half of it for free.Zimbabwe’s Chamber of Mines said after a meeting with Midzi last week the proposed legislative amendments would have a negative impact on the industry which relies heavily on foreign investment for growth.Central bank Governor Gideon Gono has also said the new laws could further hurt the southern African nation’s economy, already saddled with chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, the world’s highest inflation rate and soaring unemployment.The mining sector remains one of few in Zimbabwe with a significant level of foreign involvement after Mugabe’s controversial seizure of white-owned commercial farms for blacks drove many international investors away.- Nampa-Reuters

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