Bloomberg News

Zimbabwe Orders Miners to Resubmit Exploration Bids

April 16, 2012

Zimbabwe’s mines ministry ordered 469 local and foreign miners to resubmit applications for exploration rights that detail their shareholding, proposed work, proof of funding and technical capacity.

The companies must also provide full details of directors and shareholders in their so-called exclusive prospective orders, the ministry said in a statement published today in the Harare-based Herald newspaper. Mines affected include operations owned by Metallon Corp. and Essar Group of India, which plans to mine iron and produce steel in Zimbabwe and may spend $3.5 billion on an iron-ore processing plant.

Zimbabwe, which with South Africa holds more than three- quarters of the world’s platinum, officially published a law two years ago that compels foreign-owned companies to cede or sell 51 percent of their shares to black nationals or state-approved agencies.

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP), the world’s second-largest producer of the metal, in March agreed in principle to sell 31 percent of its Zimplats unit to a state agency and 20 percent to employees and communities. Impala owns 87 percent of Zimplats.

Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP), which owned the Mimosa platinum mine with Impala, in March submitted a proposal to hand control of the operation to Zimbabwe, which accepted the plan.

No Notice

“Mimosa has not received any notice relating to the resubmission of prospecting applications and to the best of its knowledge, Mimosa is not affected by today’s announcement by the government of Zimbabwe in this regard,” Aquarius spokesman Gavin Mackay said in an e-mailed response to a query. Impala hasn’t heard anything from the government, spokesman Bob Gilmour said by e-mail.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS), which operates the Unki mine in the country, couldn’t immediately comment.

Aquarius declined as much as 8.3 percent to 124.60 pence in London, the weakest intraday level since Dec. 8, 2008. The stock traded at 125.70 pence as of 4:38 p.m.

To contact the reporters on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net; Carli Cooke in Johannesburg at clourens@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net; Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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