Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 March, 2008 – The mining industry in Zimbabwe is seeking clarification on whether or not a new law will compel foreign-owned companies to sell majority stakes in their assets in the southern African country.
“It is unclear whether the nation’s mining industry is covered by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act,” said Zimbabwean Chamber of Mines chief executive Joseph Malaba in an interview with Bloomberg News from here. The policy – signed into law by President Robert Mugabe on March 7 – requires foreign-owned companies to offer 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans.
“The law isn’t clear on whether it includes the mining industry, which was to be covered by separate legislation,” Malaba added. “We’ll be attempting to get clarification in the days to come.”
A proposed law covering mines is reported to have lapsed on Feb. 16 because it was not signed by Mugabe. No-one at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines answered the telephone when Bloomberg News called for comment this week.
The new legislation comes ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 29 March, in which 84-year-old Mugabe is seeking to extend his 28-year rule of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum and chrome after South Africa, along with deposits of gold, coal, diamonds and nickel. Foreign mining companies with assets in the southern African nation include Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., Anglo Platinum Ltd. and the Rio Tinto Group.