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Zimbabwe miners reject state minerals control

Keywords: Tags  Zimbabwe, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, Alex Mhembere, Zimplats, indigenization, Metal Bulletin, Bianca Markram


JOHANNESBURG — The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, a private industry group, is set to reject the government’s proposal to auction off mineral deposits and control the production of strategic commodities, AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin has learned.

The group is expected to present its response to the government’s new minerals policy later this month.

Recently elected chamber president Alex Mhembere, who also is chief executive officer of Zimplats Holdings Ltd., said that he will seek better dialogue with the government.

Some foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe have told Metal Bulletin that they are frustrated with the government because policies are prone to change overnight without proper consultation. The government recently proposed a raft of changes as part of its new minerals policy.

The government announced in April that it owns a controlling 51-percent stake in all mining projects that have not complied with a law to sell majority equity stakes to local investors. Later in April, Zimbabwe released a draft amendment to its indigenization policy, confirming that the government will not provide compensation for the 51-percent share it will hold in foreign-owned mining companies.

"We all signed contracts with the government months ago (on indigenization), and yet we still don’t know what the situation is," said a chief executive officer who wished to remain anonymous. "We are simply not making progress with the government, and I feel we won’t have many happy endings in Zimbabwe," he said.

"Zimplats is disputing the government’s takeover of 27,948 hectares (69,000 acres) that the company has mining claims to," one source familiar with the situation told Metal Bulletin. "The government says it will allocate the land to other companies that will put it to use, since Zimplats is not mining it."

Zimplats has been resisting government policy directives, such as the 51-percent indigenization policy, sources close to the matter said.

"(Mhembere) will, as the head of the (chamber of mines), take the battle to government," a source said.

A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.


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