Zimbabwe’s leading platinum miner Zimplats has requested for more time to prepare a compliant indigenisation plan in line with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act after its initial proposal was rejected.
Zimplats and other foreign-owned companies had been given a seven-day ultimatum to present acceptable plans granting 51 percent ownership to locals or face prosecution or risk losing their operating licences. Mimosa, the second largest platinum mine, has also reportedly requested for an extension.
Impala Platinum of Australia, the world’s largest platinum producer, owns 87 percent in Zimplats and 50 percent in Mimosa.
Zimplats is now working on a new proposal to be submitted to Government before the end of November this year. Sources said Zimplats would first engage independent evaluators to determine the actual value of the company before drafting its proposal.
It is understood that Zimplats will formulate an indigenisation and implementation plan using the valuation report consistent with the country’s indigenisation laws.
“It appears that the timeframe that Zimplats was given to amend its proposal was short and the company has now requested for about two months to work on another proposal,” said a source close to the developments.
“With the help of evaluators that the company intends to engage, a new proposal would be submitted to Government before the end of November. The new plan will have an element of the community
share ownership trust. We also expect management and workers to also be included in the new ownership structure.”
Zimplats deputy chairman Mr Much Masunda yesterday confirmed that the company had approached Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his Mines and Mining Development counterpart Obert Mpofu seeking an extension. He said that they had a plan in place and needed some time to refine it so that it would be in line with the interests of all stakeholders.
“We submitted a proposal that the minister was not apparently happy with and discussions are still ongoing. It is business as usual at all our plants. It’s not in anyone’s interest for a world-class operation such as ours to be stopped by any closures resulting in massive job losses.
“As a company, we have never said that we are opposed to indigenisation and the empowerment of the people. We’re very clear on that.”
Minister Kasukuwere could not give a specific comment on Zimplats but indicated that some mining houses have requested more time to regularise their proposals.
“Our teams are now working with some mining companies that have asked for more time to work on their new proposals and we will keep the public updated on the developments,” said Minister Kasukuwere yesterday.