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Zimplats unaware of seizure

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IMPALA Platinum Holdings (Implats) says it is not aware of government’s plans to repossess some of the land belonging to its local unit, Zimplats.

Report by Bernard Mpofu

The new twist emerged following Tuesday’s announcement by Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu that government had with immediate effect seized unutilised mining ground from Zimplats with the aim of renting out the land to new investors.

Mpofu said the State would repossess over 27 000 hectares of land held by the mining giant and reallocate it to five potential investors in a bid to widen revenue generated from the white metal.

The minister also gave local platinum mining companies a two-year ultimatum to begin processing the metal in the country.

Currently platinum is being refined in South Africa, amid concerns that Treasury could be losing millions in revenue.

Platinum accounts for the bulk of Zimbabwe’s exports. However, Implats said it was yet to get clarification from the government.

Zimplats head of corporate communication, Busi Chindove, concurred with remarks attributed to the parent company’s spokesperson Bob Gilmore who was quoted by the South African media saying the platinum miner had not been notified on the developments.

“We are unaware of it and we are trying to get clarification, but with no joy,” Implats spokesman Bob Gilmour said.

Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada could not be reached for comment.

Mpofu said the repossession of the mining rights would stimulate growth in the platinum industry.

“As the sole regulator and promoter of the mining industry in terms of the mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05), the ministry is focusing on the creation of real opportunities and investment space by making more land available for new investments, attracting new players into the industry and acting on excess and unutilised ground,” Mpofu said.

“This will be done through reviewing all mining rights deemed to be in excess.
“To that end and following protracted discussions on the release of excess ground, my ministry is taking a step forward to repossess excess ground from Zimplats measuring 27 948 hectares.”

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