BY JENNIFER DUBE
ZIMPLATS, the country’s biggest platinum miner will spend US$2 billion in expansion projects despite government’s threats to nationalise the company.
President Robert Mugabe on Sunday last week reiterated Zanu PF’s threats to seize one of the world’s largest producers of platinum.
Last Friday, government gave miners 45 days to submit their plans to comply with the indigenisation regulations and six months to transfer controlling stakes to local black investors.
But a visit to Zimplats’ Ngezi operations showed that the South African-owned company was pressing ahead with its US$500 million phase two expansion.
It is also pressing ahead with its US$2 billion phase three expansion project.
“We are currently doing feasibility studies for phase three, which will include a refinery for the base metals, a new mine and a new concentrator,” said Stanley Segula, Zimplats’ chief operating officer.
“We have not yet received any response to our indigenisation proposals since submitting them last year but discussions with government are continuing.
“It is our hope that the discussions will result in a win-win situation, that is the reason why we continue with business as usual.”
Segula and other senior officials also dispelled the mounting criticism from Zanu PF that the company has not ploughed its profits back into the community.
Among others, the officials indicated that Zimplats declares earnings from all the 10 minerals it gets from its operations.
The company closely works with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe throughout its production process up to the escort of the exports to the Beitbridge Border post.
They clarified that the indigenisation proposals the company presented to government requested recognition of the company’s 2006 release to the government of 40% of its minerals rights for cash and or empowerment credits.
The company’s chief finance officer Patrick Maseva-Shayawabaya also confirmed in a statement last week that “discussions were still taking place and shareholders would be kept informed of any new developments”.