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Mugabe seeks mining investors

Robert Mugabe,
President of
Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 September 2009 – President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is to ask foreign investors this week to plow their money into platinum, chrome and gold mining projects to assist the country in recovering from a decade-long recession.
Bloomberg News reports that foreign investors will have to be persuaded  to put aside concerns over the farm seizure programme that destroyed Zimbabwe’s biggest export industry; recurrent threats of nationalisation; and a proposed law to force miners to sell 51% of their assets to Zimbabweans, which the government claims is being reconsidered.

In what is being billed as Zimbabwe’s biggest ever mining conference, Mugabe will present a united front with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader with whom he has formed a coalition government. They are seeking investors to help them exploit the world’s second-biggest platinum and chrome reserves, as well as companies to re-open idled gold mines and to dig coal pits.

“There’s a number of issues that need resolution,” David Brown, CEO of Impala Platinum “’ the biggest investor in Zimbabwean mining “’ said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “If the government makes the legal changes it promised, we’ll be in a much more positive frame of mind in terms of investment.”

Impala “’ which owns platinum mines in the country “’ has held back on investment plans worth about US$750 million (R6 billion) as it awaits clarity on mining laws.

Zimbabwe’s platinum reserves lag behind only South Africa. Along with Russia the three countries are the only nations with significant reserves of the metal.

“Zimbabwe could attract billions of dollars in mining exploration and development, provided the laws to make mining attractive are passed,” said finance minister Tendai Biti in an interview from Harare. “Better mining laws are expected before parliament soon.”

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and a number of other government officials will speak at the conference, which is being held in Harare tomorrow and on Thursday. Hosted by the Zimbabwean mines ministry, is expected to attract over 500 delegates.