SOUTH Africaâ€™s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, is planning to invest in the countryâ€™s platinum sector and he has already set up a company called African Rainbow Minerals Zimbabwe businessdigest can reveal.
However, it is not yet clear when Mostepe would begin exploration and whether he has been allocated exploration rights.
His entry in the mining sector is expected to energise the sector which has struggled to attract new investment.
Motsepe, the boss of African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), which also owns Dwarsrivier, Kalplats, Beeshoek, Nkomati and Modikwa, was in the country on Monday with a 22-member business delegation from Business Unity South Africa (Busa).
Motsepe said his delegation had â€œfrank discussionsâ€ with Zimbabwe authorities but stressed that â€œthe rules of investment should remain in placeâ€.
However, last yearâ€™s enactment of an empowerment law seeking to transfer control of foreign firms to locals has unnerved foreign investors.
â€œThe concern is that there should be no shifting of goalposts a few years down the line. What the President (Robert Mugabe) and Finance minister (Tendai Bit) have reconfirmed is the new policy formulated by the inclusive government to create an environment which builds trust,â€ said Motsepe.
The inclusive government has hinted that it would reform the mining sector by establishing an institution that is mandated to superintend exploration issues and compile a database on the quality and quantity of the countryâ€™s mineral resources.
The Short Term Economic Recovery Programme will therefore oversee the formulation of an exploration, registration and extraction mining policy that will form the basis for a new, comprehensive mining sector legislation and distinctly separate extraction policies and strategies.
To date, the policies on exploration and extraction have been unassuming and this has led to structural deficiencies in respect of the register of all known minerals in Zimbabwe and their stock thereof.
Â Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum reserves after South Africa.
The worldâ€™s number two platinum producer Impala Platinum (Implats) is the leading foreign investor in Zimbabweâ€™s mining sector, where it is expanding its joint venture operations.
Motsepe became the first black partner at Johannesburgâ€™s Bowman Gilfillan law firm before starting a low-level contracting business doing mine work.
Â He bought low-producing gold-mine shafts in 1994 and turned them profitable â€œusing lean, mean management styleâ€.
He has built a US$875-million mining conglomerate, African Rainbow Minerals, with interests in gold, manganese, coal, ferrous metals, base metals, chrome, iron and platinum.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE