Mimosa indigenised

HARARE - Platinum miner Mimosa has unveiled its indigenisation plan by ceding a 51 percent stake worth $556 million to locals.

By signing an agreement or term sheet — outlining the implementation of its enhanced empowerment plan — with government yesterday, the southern Zimbabwe miner complied with the country’s indigenisation law.

Winston Chitando, Mimosa’s managing director, said the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB)’s fund will hold 31 percent, employees 10 percent and the remainder in the hands of the Zvishavane Community Share Ownership Trust.

“This termsheet spells out in detail the purchase of the 51 percent shares by indigenous entities,” he said, paying particular tribute or homage to his “shareholders whose efforts and finance” have enabled him to build a world class, and efficient mine.

Chitando said Mimosa would continue with its leading innovation, community empowerment and public sector partnership programmes such as health, education and infrastructural development initiatives — a view echoed by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“Mimosa invested in the community even before the indigenisation programme,” the Zanu PF legislator for Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe said.

While the company was obliged to cede a 51 percent stake to locals in line with a Zimbabwean government law compleling all foreign-owned firms with an asset value of $500 000 to indigenise, it submitted an initial localisation plan in May 2011.

After that, the platinum group metals (PGMs) miner submitted a revised plan, which was duly approved by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

“These are purely commercial transactions. No shares were expropriated,” said the National Indigenisation and Economic Empower Board chief executive Wilson Gwatiringa, adding that the government was not expropriating companies under the indigenisation programme.

Saviour Kasukuwere, the country’s Indigenisation minister, said that “negotiations with Mimosa had been cordial.”

“We will not allow the process to be chaotic. Companies that want to operate in Zimbabwe must follow the laws of the land,” he said, adding Harare was “not asking them out.”

According to independent financial advisor Brainworks Capital, the deal had a $93 million sovereign resource ownership value, while the share transfer would be fulfilled — over 10 years — through dividends.

Mimosa is jointly-owned by platinum miners Impala Platinum (Implats) and Aquarius.

Following a rejection of the initial plan, the South African-based co-shareholder stepped in to renegotiate with Kasukuwere to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Mimosa’s PGM operation and underground mine is located 150 kilometres from Bulawayo — Zimbabwe’s second capital.

The mine is the lowest cost operation in Aquarius’ stable.

Its surface concentrator plant has a monthly processing capacity of 185 000 tonnes and has total mineral resources of 8,2 million ounces of platinum.

Mimosa has a mineral resource of 126,1 million ounces of platinum at a grade of 3,77g/t and an anticipated life-of-mine of at least 40 years.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa said all foreign-owned companies operating in the country will be indigenised and are free to move out if they do not want to comply with this law.

“There is no escape. If you cannot beat us, join us,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa, a Zanu PF politburo member and touted Mugabe successor, said his presence at the Chapman, Harare function was proof that Kasukuwere was not alone in the indigenisation drive and that the army was fully behind the youthful.

“If there are any people who doubt that the indigenisation law is here to stay, they should think again. It might take us many years to mine our resources if investors move out, but our platinum or diamonds won’t rot. We can always exploit them when we acquire the technology” Mnangagwa said.

“Its about ownership not profit.” - Eric Chiriga, Business Editor

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