Zimbabwe to allow foreign platinum miners control of local operations
HARARE, March 7 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will scrap a law that
denies foreign platinum mining companies control of their
operations in the country, the mines minister said on Thursday.
Foreign platinum and diamond miners have been restricted to
only 49 percent ownership of their Zimbabwe operations by the
black economic empowerment law introduced during Robert Mugabe's
rule. The law was aimed at increasing black Zimbabweans' stake
in the mining sector, but foreign investors said its
implementation was often murky and open to abuse.
Zimbabwe holds the world's second-largest known platinum
reserves behind South Africa.
Asked to confirm a Bloomberg report that Zimbabwe will scrap
the black empowerment rules for platinum, Winston Chitando told
Reuters in a WhatsApp message: "Confirmed. It's part of
continued review of (the) Zimbabwe is open for business mantra."
On when the amendments will be brought to parliament,
Chitando said that dates would be announced soon.
Chitando, who is in Washington with Finance Minister Mthuli
Ncube scouting for investment in Zimbabwe, did not respond when
asked whether the changes will be extended to the diamond
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is keen to revive the mining
sector after years of reticence from foreign investors during
Investor interest in Zimbabwe's underexplored resources has
improved more recently, however. Australia's Arcadia Resources
is setting up a lithium mine while privately owned Karo
Resources signed a $4.2 billion deal to set up a platinum mine
and refinery and revived a Russian joint venture for a big
platinum project near Harare.
Among existing operations, Impala Platinum and
Anglo American Platinum have assets in Zimbabwe while
Sibanye-Stillwater has a joint venture mine with
Although no foreign platinum company had been forced to cede
control, investors said the empowerment law added to the
country's political risk profile.
The finance minister has said that Zimbabwe attracted $8
billion into mining last year alone and that projects are
expected to take off in the next three years.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe
Editing by David Goodman)
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