Impala Platinum Holdings Limited says its Zimbabwean unit held “constructive” talks with the country’s new government over mining operations, including the requirement to sell majority stakes to black citizens.
“What we’re observing is a much more considered and measured attitude emanating from discussions with the authorities,” Bloomberg News quotes Khotso Mokhele, chairman of Johannesburg-based Impala, which owns an 87% stake in Zimplats Holdings Limited, as saying. “We welcome the constructive tone and believe it bodes well for finding win-win solutions and continued investment in that country.”
The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party won a two-thirds parliamentary majority in July elections, after sharing power with the rival Movement for Democratic Change from 2009. The previous government said in April that it would not pay for the controlling stakes companies were obliged to hand over to the state and local citizens after it had agreed a financed deal with Zimplats, the country’s biggest platinum producer, in January.
It was too early to speak about an outcome on the so-called indigenisation deal, Mokhele said in an interview after Impala’s annual general meeting here. “As to where we move from here I cannot say for sure, but it is likely that we will have to revisit certain areas.”
Zimplats also raised issues over electricity supply, mining royalties and foreign-exchange regulations with the government, Impala spokesman Johan Theron said by phone.
The interests of shareholders and executives of the company, the world’s biggest platinum producer after Anglo American Platinum Limited, remained aligned, even as CEO Terence Goodlace opted not to be paid incentive bonuses, Mokhele said.
Goodlace was paid US767 248 in salary and benefits during the previous fiscal year, and won’t receive an increase in 2014.
“Some of us believe it is honourable,” said Mokhele. “We have this gap between chief executives and ordinary workers, and companies are clever at hiding that gap by packaging a whole chunk of benefits for chief executives through incentive schemes.”
Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.