Bloomberg News

Zimbabwe Says Mine-Empowerment Plans ‘Short’ of Expectations

July 06, 2011

(Updates with comment from Kasukuwere in third paragraph, companies in final.)

July 6 (Bloomberg) -- Plans by mining companies in Zimbabwe to sell majority stakes to locals “fall short” of government expectations, Saviour Kasukuwere, indigenisation and economic empowerment minister, told state-owned television.

“What we are now doing as government is basically to invoke the law and ensure that we, as government, take over those assets,” the minister said.

The Zimbabwean government won’t discuss “so-called empowerment credits” with miners that have invested in social projects like schools and hospitals, said Kasukuwere, who is a member of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Under a new law, foreign-owned miners must cede or sell 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans or government- approved agencies. The law, known as the Indigenization and Empowerment Act, doesn’t allow white Zimbabweans or foreigners to own businesses with assets over $1 million.

About 173 mining companies, many of them closely held, submitted their plans to the southern African nation’s government explaining how they will dilute their foreign or white shareholdings.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum and ferrochrome after South Africa. The empowerment law affects companies including Anglo-American Plc, Riot Tinto Plc, RioZim Ltd. and Impala Platinum Ltd.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Digby Lidstone.

To contact the reporters on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Harare via Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net; Brian Latham in Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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