Zimplats says Zimbabwe in fresh bid to seize its mining claims

Zimbabwe’s government has made a fresh attempt to seize more than half of platinum producer Zimplats’ mining land, the company said on Tuesday.

It said it received a new notice from President Robert Mugabe’s administration on Jan. 13 that the government wanted to seize the land and gave the company 30 days to lodge an objection.

This is the third time since February 2012 that the government has issued a notice to seize 27,948 hectares of mining ground from Zimplats, the country’s biggest platinum producer. It objects to the acquisition.

Zimplats, which is 87 percent owned by South Africa’s Impala Platinum Holdings, owns a total of 48,535 hectares in mining claims.

“The operating subsidiary (Zimplats) is engaging the government of Zimbabwe on the matter,” the company said in its third-quarter results statement.

Zimbabwe Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa
Zimbabwe Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa

It did not give more details on the issue. Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa did not answer his mobile phone when contacted for comment.

Mugabe’s government has previously defended the decision to seize Zimplats land, saying the miner had an excessive amount of land and it wanted to distribute the claims to new companies.

Zimplats said its profit for its third quarter, ended Dec. 31, rose 28 percent to $21 million thanks to higher platinum matte sales, which increased to 133,978 ounces from 100,392 ounces previously.

The mining company ships its platinum matte for further processing at refineries in South Africa.

Source: Reuters

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