HomeBusiness DigestGovt to indigenise Great Dyke mines

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MINES and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu has said government will indigenise mines along the mineral rich Great Dyke region because of their skewed ownership patterns. 

Mpofu said the imbalance was “very worrying and needs to be rectified”.
“The ownership pattern along the Great Dyke is worrying and it’s giving us (government) problems,” he said while departing from his prepared speech at a business conference last week. “More than four companies, all of them foreign, are operating there and that is totally unacceptable.”
Among the companies operating along the Dyke are Mimosa, Zimplats, Camec and Zim Alloys.
The amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act, he said, would deal with cases such as that of Great Dyke.
The Dyke extends 540kms in length and is a strategic economic resource with significant quantities of chrome, platinum, gold, silver, nickel, iron-ore and diamonds.
Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere told reporters in Harare last week that the country’s controversial policy of transferring majority control of foreign-owned firms to black Zimbabweans would begin in the key mining sector.
Mpofu told the captains of industry that potential foreign investors in mining have never raised any concerns on the controversial indigenisation drive.
“On average, I met five foreign investors per day and not a single one of them raised any concerns on indigenisation. In fact investors say they have operated in worse countries where they don’t know what percentage they own in their companies as governments randomly change them. They are just at the mercy of governments,” he said.
Mpofu said Zimbabwe is losing out on investment as “we want to be very inclusive. Countries that are emerging from wars such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast are attracting more investors than us”.
He said repeated attempts “to provoke them (investors) and start talking about the Act (indigenisation) have been waved away”.
Meanwhile, Mpofu said mineral output in the country increased by 15% last year, contributing more than 50% to the country’s exports.
He said: “The mining sector achieved the highest growth, with output increasing by about 15% in 2009 against a decline of 22,1% recorded in 2008. The sector’s turnaround was mainly a result of positive performance in gold, platinum and coal.
“Mineral exports accounted for 51% of the country’s total exports in 2009. Mining output is projected to increase by 27% in 2010 as a result of a continued liberalised environment, re-opening of closed mines and new investments.”
Mpofu said gold production is expected to further increase from about 5 000kgs in 2009 to 7 000kgs in 2010.
The platinum sector has significant growth potential with output expected to increase from 6 849kgs in 2009 to 7 800kgs in 2010.
Factors expected to boost output are increased investment by platinum houses and the opening of Unki Platinum Mine in the last quarter of 2010.
“Currently there is no primary producer of nickel since the closure of BNC in October 2008. Nickel production is expected to increase from 4 858 tonnes to 6 000 tonnes as a result of increased activities in PGMs and assuming that Bindura Nickel Mining Company succeeds in its plan to resume operations by June 2010,” Mpofu said.

Nqobile Bhebhe

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