Expatica news

Zimbabwe rejects parts of Implats sell-off plan: company

Impala Platinum said Friday that Zimbabwe has rejected parts of its sell-off plan for its Mimosa Holdings subsidiary, which must cede a majority stake under a local shareholding law.

The announcement came just one week after Mimosa, a 50-50 joint venture between Implats and Aquarius Platinum, took a step toward complying with the law by putting $2 million into a community trust fund meant to repair roads and provide clean water for residents near the mine.

But Implats, the world’s number two platinum producer, said Friday that parts of its plan to comply with the law had been rejected, and it voiced concern about new threats by the government to take over mines.

“In a letter dated February 22, 2012, Mimosa was advised by the Zimbabwean minister of youth development, indigenisation and empowerment that a portion of its Indigenisation Implementation Plan has been rejected,” the company said in a statement.

“Implats is concerned to note the statement by the minister that unless an agreement is reached… within 30 days, enforcement mechanisms will be activated.

“Shareholders are advised that negotiations with the minister will be undertaken in an attempt to reach a mutually acceptable solution,” it said.

Minister for indigenisation Saviour Kasukuwere told a parliamentary committee this week that the government could seize 51 percent stakes in mines that fail to comply with the law.

“We have had challenges with companies that were dilly-dallying and we are no longer going to negotiate with them,” he said.

“We have given them two weeks to lodge their plans on transfer of shares,” he said.

“Companies that refuse to comply will leave us with no option but to take them over. The law is clear on that one,” he added.

The local shareholding programme is at the centre of a dispute between long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who formed a coalition government three years ago.

Tsvangirai has said the indigenisation drive will push away foreign investment, just as the country is recovering from a decade-long economic collapse.