Mujuru Praises Zimplats As Parliamentary Committee Prepares To Visit SA Platinum Miner

Meanwhile the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy visits Impala Platinum (Implats) next week to familiarise with its operations and make comparisons with platinum mining in Zimbabwe. Implats have over 87% in Zimbabwe Platinum (Zimplats) which mines in Chegutu.

Mugabe has threatened that government’s controversial seizure of foreign owned mines will start with Zimplats because it was allegedly externalising its profits and neglecting communities where it operates.

The rhetoric has seen senior Zanu (PF) officials lining up with traditional leaders to claim a stake in one of the world’s top producers of the platinum group of minerals under the guise of indiginisation.

But Mujuru who in the past has appeared sympathetic to business said on Wednesday she was happy with Zimplats’ operations in the country.

She was speaking at the official re-opening of Nyagwene Primary School in Mhondoro-Mubaira, which was reconstructed by Zimplats to the tune of US$300 000.

The school was destroyed by a hailstorm in last year and pupils had been conducting lessons in the open. Zimplats constructed 15 new classrooms and offices. It also donated 249 desks and chairs.

“While government has encouraged mining companies to embark on community investment programmes, I am glad to say that in the case of Zimplats the company has over the years voluntarily invested in a number of infrastructural development projects both at national level and in and around certain parts of this vast province,” she said.

“These include road construction, power and telecommunications development.”

Mujuru said the Selous-Ngezi highway constructed by Zimplays 10 years ago was going through maintenance at a cost of US$10 million and the work was being done by locals.

She said the company had also helped many schools in the surrounding areas with textbooks and helped hospitals with equipment.

The VP said communities must realise that companies like Zimplats were operating in a difficult environment and cannot meet all their demands.

Chiefs Benhura and Murambwa of Mashonaland West have confirmed that they want to acquire a combined 10 percent stake in Zimplats through a community trust. The traditional leaders are reportedly working with former Deputy Information minister Bright Matonga and are among several Zanu PF big wigs preparing to lay their hands on the company.

Edward Chindori Chininga said 12 legislators will visit Rustenburg from April 11 to 13.

According to his posting on Face Book, the visit is meant to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of platinum mine production and processing chain particularly the process Zimbabwe platinum goes through in South Africa from base metal refinery to precious metal refinery and to international markets.

He added: “The Committee would like to develop appreciation on what level of national platinum production and investment is required for Zimbabwe platinum mines to develop base metal and precious metal refineries.”

The committee has special interest in understanding the various empowerment structures that have been put in place in South Africa to benefit mining location affected communities and the community developments that have resulted from such structures.

“The Committee wants to understand and appreciate South African mining industry contribution to national development, national treasury and economic growth,” noted Chindori Chininga.

In an extraordinary Government Gazette last month, government issued an amendment to the Economic Empowerment Regulations detailing the minimum compliance requirements by foreign owned mining businesses.

The regulations provided that a controlling interest or 51% of any foreign owned mining company with a net asset value of at least US$1 is required to be held by the following designated entities such as the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund; the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC); any company or other entity incorporated by the ZMDC; the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund and a statutory sovereign wealth fund that may be created by law. The regulations stipulates a controlling shareholding can also be hold by either an employee share ownership scheme or trust, management share ownership scheme or trust or community share ownership scheme or trust.

All foreign owned mining companies are required to submit indigenisation plans in compliance with the regulations by May 9.

The regulations also stipulate that the approved indigenisation plan should be achieved within a period of six months and the Minister responsible for indigenisation may however grant a three months extension for compliance.