Harare - Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines on Wednesday proposed a compromise in the
government's drive to force foreign firms to give a 51% stake to locals,
saying 15% local shareholding for mines was enough.
Chamber president Victor
Gapare said government should recognise that most mining companies built
schools and roads in the areas where they operate, benefiting nearby
"From a broad-based
empowerment point of view, you have to look at things like schools, hospitals,
roads and all the developments which takes place around mining communities, and
in our minds that's true empowerment," Gapare told a news conference.
An indigenisation law that
took effect on March 1 requires foreign firms valued at more than $500 000
to cede at least a 51% stake to locals.
Firms had been given 45
days to report their efforts at complying, but the deadline has been extended
The government says mines
will be the law's first target, but Gapare said Harare should consider
requiring only 15% local shareholding.
"The position which we
put together says a minimum of 15% equity," Gapare said. "The
rest to make up 51% will be in the form of social responsibility
programmes" like building schools and hospitals.
"The mining companies
are finding it very hard to attract capital. What we hope is that as the
perceived country risk of Zimbabwe comes down, companies will be able to
attract capital," he said.
In the first month after
the law was published, Zimbabwe's stock market fell about 10%, while
mining shares dropped 20%.