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Unki platinum mine dilemma

Cynthia Carroll,
Anglo American
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 June 2008 – Anglo American plc – one of the world’s largest mining and natural resource groups – says the government of Zimbabwe has threatened in very clear terms to assume control of the Unki platinum mine in central Zimbabwe if it deems such action necessary.

The company revealed this threat in a statement here in response to media reports and angry reaction relating to Anglo American’s business activity in Zimbabwe. The Times of London reported that Anglo American was planning to invest US$400 million (R3.2 billion) in the Unki platinum mine, which would be operational by 2010.

Anglo American has been an investor in Zimbabwe for 60 years,” the statement explained. “The Unki platinum project in Zimbabwe, which has been in development since 2003, is a long-term investment for a mine which is yet to start production, and will not generate revenues for some years,” it continued.

“Anglo American is deeply concerned about the current political situation in Zimbabwe, and condemns the violence and human rights abuses that are taking place,” the statement added. “The company is monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe very closely and is reviewing all options surrounding the development of the project. It has been made clear to Anglo American that if it ceases to develop this project, the government of Zimbabwe will assume control,” it went on.

“Anglo American has a clear responsibility to protect the well-being of its more than 650 employees and contractors, as well as their families and all those who depend indirectly on the activity around the project, all of whose livelihoods would be jeopardised should the company withdraw from Zimbabwe,” the statement insisted.

“On the other hand, the responsible development of the Unki mine will create a long-term, viable business which will be important to the economic future of Zimbabwe for years to come,” the statement emphasised. “Anglo American continues to support the communities around the project with a number of important social development activities,” it concluded, “and the company is in full compliance with all relevant national and international laws relating to its activities in Zimbabwe.”