, HARARE, Apr 29 – Zimbabwe plans to seize 28,000 hectares of land leased to a local subsidiary of the platinum-mining giant Impala Platinum the government said were being underutilised.
“President (Robert Mugabe) intends to acquire … part of the land held by Zimplats Holdings Limited,” read part of the notice seen by AFP on Monday.
The notice, published on Friday, said a parcel of land in the gold and copper-rich Kadoma mining district would now be used “for the benefit of the public.”
The mines ministry announced plans earlier this year to seize land being leased by Zimplats in the neighbouring Chegutu district saying the firm would not be able to exhaust the ore within the tenure of its 25-year lease.
In January, Impala Platinum, the world’s number two producer of platinum sealed a deal to sell a 51-percent stake in Zimplats under a state-imposed black empowerment scheme.
The deal, expected to see Impala get $971 million, is in compliance with a controversial indigenisation law that Mugabe signed in 2010.
The law forces foreign-owned companies – including banks and retailers — to cede 51 percent ownership to black Zimbabwean investors.
Mugabe, who a decade ago launched a campaign to seize white-owned farmland, has threatened to take over firms which do not comply.
His partner in a shaky power sharing government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is uneasy with the law, which he says has driven away foreign investment just as the country is recovering from a decade-long economic collapse.