GOVERNMENT has renewed its bid to expropriate vast tracts of land held by Zimbabwe’s largest platinum mining company, Zimplats, and dish it out to locals.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
According to a government notice published this week, President Robert Mugabe’s government wants to compulsorily acquire 27 948 hectares of land held by Zimplats under Special Mining Lease Number 1.
“Notice is, hereby, given, in terms of section 398(1) of the Mines and Minerals Act, that the President intends to acquire compulsorily part of the land held by Zimplats (Private) Limited under Special Mining Lease Number 1,” reads part of the notice.
The government said it was repealing its 2013 and 2016 bids to expropriate the land.
But, Zimplats has opposed the takeover of the land, which holds vast platinum ore deposits and lodged an objection to the compulsory acquisition of the land.
In the Zimplats Holdings Limited integrated annual report of 2016, board chairman, Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi indicated that his company continued to engage the government over the matter.
“On June 29, 2016, the operating subsidiary was served with an application filed in the Administrative Court of Zimbabwe, in which the government was seeking an order authorising the acquisition by the government of the portion of the operating subsidiary’s mining lease area, as described in the preliminary notice that was issued by the government in 2013.
“Zimplats Holdings Limited was cited as the respondent in the application. Papers opposing the application were filed on behalf of Zimplats Holdings Limited and the operating subsidiary. The matter is, therefore, pending in the Administrative Court of Zimbabwe. The operating subsidiary will, however, still seek to engage the government in constructive dialogue in an endeavour to have the matter resolved amicably,” he said.
Mufamadi is a former South African Cabinet minister.
Zimplats says it has been at the centre of driving sustainable recovery of Zimbabwe’s economy, spending $209 million in local procurements and $85 million in wages and salaries to its employees in 2015 alone, excluding payments to the government.
In November last year, Zimplats authorised an investment of $264 million for the Mupani Mine (Portal 6), the new underground mining complex, which will replace production from Rukodzi Mine and Ngwarati Mine once these are mined out and closed.
Zimplats is a subsidiary of Australian mining conglomerate Implats.