Implats calls for Zim govt support

HARARE - South Africa’s largest platinum miner, Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats), is seeking government support for an expansion programme at its Zimbabwean unit.

Implats, which owns 87 percent of Zimplats, says the current economic environment is not conducive for investor confidence due to lack of policy clarity and consistency.

“Turning to Zimbabwe, we fully support the Zimbabwean government’s attempts to grow its local economy,” the group’s chief executive Terrence Goodlace said in an annual report released recently.

“As one of the largest investors in the country, we remain ready to do more, but require a supportive regulatory environment to live up to our potential to boost infrastructure development, employment, export earnings and local beneficiation or industrialisation,” he said.

This comes as foreign investors have been skirting the country in favour of its regional neighbours as a result of the Indigenisation Act, which forces foreign-owned firms to cede 51 percent of their shareholding to locals.

Latest statistics from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) show that Zimbabwe’s foreign direct investment (FDI) has remained embarrassingly low at $545 million compared to other regional countries such as Mozambique.

According to the report, South Africa was the biggest recipient of FDI to southern Africa last year raking in $5,7 billion, Mozambique $4,9 billion, Zambia $2,4 billion, Malawi $130 million and Swaziland $13 million.

Meanwhile, Goodlace said the platinum giant will continue constructive discussions with the Zimbabwe government in regards to the implementation of its indigenisation policy and a two-year deferral of the 15 percent export levy on unbeneficiated platinum.

Mining experts say the expansion plans for miners in Zimbabwe and the growth of the crucial industry is now under threat because of continued depressed metal prices and spiking government demands for more revenue.

The country boasts of vast mineral riches spanning gold, platinum, nickel, chrome, diamond and coal among others, but mining firms in Zimbabwe, which are also required to give up majority shares to black locals under an empowerment drive, are beginning to feel the squeeze from higher taxes, rising fees and softer commodity prices.

Over the past year, President Robert Mugabe’s administration has raised or imposed taxes on everything from mines to water in a bid to increase revenue to pay government workers.

Their salaries account for about 88 percent of State spending.

Earlier in the year, Mimosa Mines — a joint venture company between Implats and Aquarius Platinum Limited — indicated plans to shelve its $70 million expansion project due to an increase in taxes.


Comments (1)

This Zimplats headed by the biggest thief Alex Mhembere will not go far. GoodAss you must deal with governance issues in your company and shut you blubber mouth. Wena Bhunu.

Segura - 10 November 2015

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