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Zimbabwean mine ownership law challenged

Zimbabwean energy
& power development
minister Elias Mudzuri
Durban, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 February 2010 – Zimbabwean legislation signed into law two weeks ago compelling companies with assets worth more than US$500 000 (R3.75 million) to be 51% black-owned has confused investors and should be changed.

“That law must be changed,” said energy and power development minister Elias Mudzuri in an interview during a conference here. “It has created a lot of confusion among investors and among ourselves as ministers. There has been serious transition in Zimbabwe towards taking global interests seriously,” he added.

Mudzuri’s comments followed a speech by acting prime minister Thokozani Khupe last week in which he said the country would reconsider the legislation if investors were scared off. The law is due to come into effect on 1 March, and requires affected companies to sell 51% of their local units to black investors within five years, according to a copy distributed by Harare-based Veritas Trust, a non-governmental organisation.

Known as the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, it has been passed by parliament without being signed into law by Mugabe.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum and chrome after South Africa, as well as gold, coal, diamond and nickel deposits. London-based miner Anglo American Plc and South African platinum giant Impala Platinum are among companies operating there.