Zim yet to conclude Zimplats terms

2012-03-23 09:11

Harare - Zimbabwe and mining firm Zimplats have yet to settle the details of a deal in which the company is to cede a 51% stake to local investors, a cabinet minister said Thursday.

"We agreed in principle but there must be an evaluation of assets and resources," Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told journalists at an investment conference in Harare.

"At the end of the day we want a win-win situation. We are on track and on course on the realisation of the law. We want a fair share of what belongs to us and discussions are ongoing at the moment."

Zimplats, the local unit of the world's second-largest platinum producer Impala Platinum Holdings [JSE:IMP], reached a deal with the Zimbabwe government that will see the company give 10% ownership to its workers, another 10% to a community trust near its mine, and 31% to the government's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.

But under the controversial local ownership law championed by long-ruling President Robert Mugabe, the government must pay for the shares it receives - something the cash-strapped Treasury has not budgeted this year.

Impala said last week that the agreement only stipulated "that the shares sales would be at appropriate value".

Two weeks ago the Zimbabwean government threatened to nationalise Zimplats for non-compliance with the regulations.

The deal is being closely watched by other foreign companies, including banks and retailers, as a bellwether of Zimbabwe's investment climate and the security of their own operations.

Mugabe's partner in the unity government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has warned that the law passed two years ago would discourage investment.