Johannesburg - Anglo Platinum (Amplats) [JSE:AMS] has not received any
rejection notice from the Zimbabwean government over its plan to transfer a
majority stake in its local operation to black investors, its chief executive
said on Monday.
Neville Nicolau also said in an interview with Reuters that
a potential seizure of its Zimbabwe operations would have little impact on its
bottom line, adding the country had long-term potential for the firm.
Zimbabwe last week said it had rejected all 175 proposals received from foreign mining firms outlining their plans to comply with a
controversial ownership law, and will kick out any firms that fail to meet a
“We haven’t received any rejection from the government and
remain in talks with them,” Nicolau told Reuters after a presentation of
Amplats’ interim results.
He said discussions focused on how much past deals would
count as credits towards compliance and how much would be straight equity.
The government of President Robert Mugabe says foreign
mining firms must sell or transfer a majority stake of their operations there
to local black investors or face losing their assets.
Amplats’ main Zimbabwean asset is its Unki mine, which is
expected to produce some 30 000 ounces of platinum this year against a group
target of 2.6 million oz.
Nicolau said the loss of its Zimbabwean operations would
hardly dent its balance sheet or income statement, but the company was committed
to the country because of its mineral wealth. Only South Africa has larger
proven reserves of platinum group metals.
“If we had to shut down and they took 100% of the mine and
they kicked us out of the country, it would be an absolutely nominal impairment
on Anglo American Platinum ... It might be 1% in terms of our asset value,” he
“So why do we bother going through the issues in Zimbabwe?
It’s because the mine has a long life. It has the opportunity to increase
production with relatively little capital.”
He said there were few options for miners looking for
“Other than South Africa, it’s really the only other place
in the world where you find platinum group metals,” he said.