Harare, Zimbabwe — 17 April 2012 – The Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines has 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 order follows the ministry’s decision in January to hike pre-exploration fees for most minerals by as much as 8,000% in a move it said was meant to curb the speculative holding of mine titles.
Bloomberg News says the companies must also provide full details of directors and shareholders in their so-called exclusive prospective orders, according to a ministry statement published in the locally-based Herald newspaper. Mines affected include operations owned by Metallon Corporation and the Essar Group of India, which plans to mine iron and produce steel in Zimbabwe and may spend US$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% of their shares to black nationals or state-approved agencies.
Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (IMP), the world’s second-largest producer of the metal, agreed in principle in March to sell 31% of its Zimplats unit to a state agency and 20% to – employees and communities. Impala owns 87% of Zimplats.
Aquarius Platinum Limited (AQP), which owned the Mimosa platinum mine with Impala, submitted a proposal to hand control of the operation to Zimbabwe, which accepted the plan.
“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,” 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 Limited (AMS), which operates the Unki mine in the country, couldn’t comment immediately.
Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.