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Zimbabwe ‘owns’ majority of all foreign mining companies

Zimbabwe’s Black Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, announced today it has taken majority ownership of foreign-owned mining firms, which had not already given a controlling stake to black Zimbabweans.“All mining companies that have not complied … should note that 51% of their shareholding is now deemed to be owned by the state,” empowerment minister Kasukuwere said in a statement.Kasukuwere said profits since Sept. 25 from the government’s new controlling shareholdings were also regarded as “property of the state.” But he said companies that made a loss since then would have to cover losses from their side, and not draw from the “indigenized portion” held by the state to pay debt.Johannesburg-listed Impala Platinum, the world’s second-biggest platinum producer, bowed to pressure last month to surrender half its Zimplats unit.The deal, the first large agreement reached between a mining company and Zimbabwe’s government after it introduced an indigenization law in early 2010, generated passionate arguments.The Herald newspaper, a state-controlled media outlet used to broadcast government announcements, called Impala “naive and irresponsible” to assume it could expand its operations in the nation based on what Zimbabwe said was a “flawed” agreement.In 2010 President Robert Mugabe (photo) created the so-called “indigenisation” law, which calls on international mining companies to transfer 51% stakes to local investors or risk losing permits by September last year.

15 Sunday April 2012  12:43

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