Impala Platinum’s Zimbabwe unit has submitted a revised plan to comply with a law requiring foreign mining firms to turn over a 51 percent stake to local blacks, the empowerment minister said on Friday.
The plan by Impala, the world’s second largest platinum producer, was submitted on Thursday and the government plans to conclude talks with its unit Zimplats by next Thursday, Saviour Kasukuwere told reporters.
“I can safely say we are not unduly disturbed by what’s coming from Zimplats. I am very excited that we are making very good progress,” he said.
Implats said last month it had agreed to turn over a 10 percent stake in Zimplats to locals after facing pressure from the government to give up equity or lose out in the state with the world’s second largest platinum reserves.
The 10 percent stake was topped with $10 million, which Implats said would be used to set up a trust to administer the shares awarded to the community.
Implats said on Thursday that output of platinum in matte at Zimplats rose marginally to 45,000 ounces in the quarter to the end of September compared to the same period last year.
Zimbabwe has not provided clear guidelines on how and when it expects companies to comply with the ownership legislation.
Analysts say the law is aimed at filling the coffers of President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party ahead of elections that could come as early as next year.
Kasukuwere also said that Unki mine, the Zimbabwean unit of world no. 1 platinum producer Anglo American Platinum, had agreed to sell a 10 percent stake to local communities. He said the 10 percent was the first compliance phase by Amplats.
Mining firms risk losing their claims if they do not play along. Some are waiting for a future government more amenable to international investment before they ramp up production.