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Equity plan ‘does not work’

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The chief executive of Impala Platinum (Implants) the world’s second largest platinum producer, said on Thursday that a drive by the Zimbabwean government to force foreign miners to transfer 51% of their local equity stakes to black investors in the country could not work and was hurting the country.

“We believe that 51% equity just does not work,” David Brown said on a conference call with journalists after the group unveiled full year results that showed headline earnings per share had soared over 40% on higher prices.

“What they are doing is very bad for the country . . . and has the potential to retard investment,” he said in comments that were unusually blunt for a company official on the issue.

He also said the company wanted to see the law changed. Implats has a huge stake in the outcome of the situation as its Zimbabwe unit Zimplats accounts for close to 10% of group production.

Brown also said the group’s platinum output for the 2012 financial year would likely decline to 1,7 million ounces from just over 1,83-million in the past year as old infrastructure becomes less productive.

But as new shafts ramp up the company is aiming for 2 million ounces by 2014.

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