Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 August 2008 – International mining giant Anglo American plc has held secret talks with Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the subject of obtaining lucrative platinum mining concessions should the opposition party gain power.
Reporting from here, Reuters cited The Financial Times European edition as quoting two senior MDC figures as saying the party had held talks with Anglo American about the possibility of granting mining rights to the company’s platinum unit, Anglo Platinum.
The news agency pointed out that South African President Thabo Mbeki had been trying to broker a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, after widely-condemned polls earlier this year had plunged the country further into political and economic crisis.
It quoted The Financial Times as saying that, should it gain power, the MDC planned to review mining in the country, which has the world’s second biggest platinum reserves after South Africa. It added that neither Anglo American nor MDC officials could be reached immediately for comment on the article.
Reuters reports that any deal that wrests at least some power from Mugabe and promotes political and economic stability could spur investment in Zimbabwe, which was once one of Africa’s most prosperous countries, but now faces spiralling inflation and biting poverty.
Zimplats – subsidiary of South African company Impala Platinum, the second biggest platinum producer in the world – is the biggest platinum miner in Zimbabwe. Anglo Platinum owns the Unki project, and said last month it aimed to start output there in about two years’ time, despite criticism by British politicians and investors about investing in Zimbabwe while Mugabe retained power.