Indigenisation takes new twist

HARARE - Zimbabwe will revisit its marketing contracts signed with platinum miners in the country in line with the indigenisation policy, Mines minister Obert Mpofu said.

This comes as the government has indigenised foreign-owned platinum producers in the country, acquiring 51 percent shareholding of each under its empowerment programme.

“It has come to my attention that some marketing agreements between the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and some mining companies in the platinum sector concluded several years ago may need revisiting to reflect our national aspirations,” Mpofu said yesterday.

“I would like to implore the Corporation to revisit all agreements that pertain to the marketing and exporting of minerals,” the minister said.

Mpofu added that he was “extremely disturbed” by reports of growing malpractice in the buying and selling of minerals “with some rogue elements taking advantage of unsuspecting buyers to swindle them of their money.”

“I urge the Corporation to device adequate measures to ensure that buyers are protected and assisted in conducting their buying activities,” he said adding that the institution is mandated to eliminate all forms of potential mineral leakages either physical or through paper manipulation.

Platinum miners in Zimbabwe, which include Zimplats, Anglo American Platinum and Aquarius, have also of late been under immense pressure from government to establish local beneficiation plants, amid indications of an ore exports ban in two years’ time.

Economic experts have warned that although foreign investors continue to show interest in Zimbabwe’s platinum mining — buoyed by the abundance of the resource — the country’s controversial policies, particularly indigenisation, have kept them at bay.

Zimbabwe has the second largest known platinum reserves in the world after South Africa.

Under the indigenisation policies, foreign owned companies operating in the country — despite nature of business — are forced to cede 51 percent shareholding to black locals.

Mpofu also said MMCZ should ensure a smooth repatriation of all marketing proceeds into the country and collection of all statutory payments relating to mineral exports on behalf of the government.

“Some producers suffer huge mining costs and unless complimented by effective and efficient marketing from your side, mining could be severely affected if producers cannot recoup their investment,” he said.

Chris Mutsvangwa, MMCZ chairperson, said his board will engage both Americans and the European Union to remove diamond companies from the sanctions list so that the majority of Zimbabweans can benefit from free selling of the gems.

Newly appointed MMCZ board members include Juliet Machoba (deputy chairperson), Johnson Masawi, Tendai Munyoro, Nonhlanhla Ndlovu, FelixMoyo, economist Nicholas Dube, Tongai Muzenda and economist Morris Mpofu. - John Kachembere

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