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Zimplats optimistic over indigenisation implementation plan

PLATINUM mining firm Zimplats says it is optimistic of a positive outcome on its indigenisation compliance discussions with government despite its proposed term sheet failing to sail through.

BY OUR STAFF

Speaking at an analyst briefing last week, Zimplats chief executive, Alex Mhembere said the company was engaged in deliberations with government and lauded its community share ownership schemes.

“Our largely celebrated term sheet has not sailed through but we are working closely with authorities in terms of our indigenisation compliance plan. We remain positive that we will find a solution and should be compliant as soon as possible,” he said.

““The company is still engaged in discussions with the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment with regard to the company’s indigenisation implementation plan,” said Mhembere.

However, a source close to the matter said progress on the matter was being stalled partially due to issues surrounding the valuation and leasing of land on which the company is operating.
The mining firm holds a special mining lease over two areas in the country with a total of 48,535ha in extent.

Last year, government expressed intention to repossess swathes of land under the mining giant’s claim arguing that the firm had too much land granted under its contract.

Zimplats also signed a conditional, non-binding term sheet for the transfer of 20% of Zimplats shares to employee and community trusts while another 31% would be channelled to a state-run National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.

In terms of this agreement, this would be for a total of US$971 million payable from future dividends due to the entities.

Zimplats in turn would provide vendor funding to the indigenous entities at an interest rate of 10% per annum, repayable from 85% of the dividends declared by the operating subsidiary.

Government has however indicated that it wishes to revisit the terms of the plan as neither party was bound by the terms and engagement in this regard.

Mhembere said annual metal production in matte for platinum stood at 270 000 ounces, gold at 30 000 ounces, nickel at 5 000 tonnes, and copper at 5 000 tonnes among other metals.

He told the meeting that all metals were declared at point of export, accounted for and invoiced.

“However, our Community Share Ownership schemes are in place and being implemented. We are processing 270 000 ounces [of platinum] per annum and we need to grow this to 1 million ounces per annum; it’s part of our strategy,” said Mhembere.

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