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Government takes Zimplats to court over land

03/08/2017 00:00:00
by Business Reporter
Zim smelter too pricey, says Impala
Zimplats revenue up 41pct to $139mln

THE government has filed a court application seeking to enforce its 2013 notice to take over more than half over of the mining land owned by platinum producer Zimplats.

Zimplats is 87 percent owned by South Africa-based Implats and its operations are situated on the Zimbabwean Great Dyke south-west of Harare comprising four underground mines and a concentrator at Ngezi.

The June 26 application marks the second time President Robert Mugabe’s government has approached the courts for help in the acquisition of almost 28,000 hectares from the platinum mining giant.

In a statement accompanying its results for the fourth quarter ending June, the company revealed it has responded to the application, objecting to the move again.

“The operating subsidiary responded to the court application and the parties are currently engaged in discussions to find an amicable resolution of the matter," said Zimplats on Tuesday.

Mugabe has in the past justified the decision saying the mining giant has left the land idle since 2006 when the lease was granted.  

Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa, in the initial court application, argued that acquisition would create, through an extraction and processing project, 15,000 and 75,000 jobs directly and indirectly, earning the country $3 billion annually.

Nevertheless, earnings from the extractive sector in Zimbabwe lack transparency with Mugabe confessing in 2015 that $15 billion in diamonds revenue could not be accounted for.

Tendai Biti, as finance minister during the coalition government, always accused Zanu PF officials of abusing mining revenue.

Meanwhile, the government received $51 million in direct and indirect taxes from Zimplats, according the company management.

During the quarter to June this year, Zimplats recorded an 11 percent increase in revenue to $143, 5 million over the quarter to June from $128, 9 million during the same reporting period of last year. The revenue growth was anchored on an increase in sales of platinum group metals.

Sales in the quarter were up from 143,600 tonnes last year to 152,900 tonnes this year pushing net operating costs up 10 percent to $109, 6 million.

“The redevelopment of Bimha Mine remains on schedule to reach full production in April 2018. A total of $36 million had been spent on the project as at 30 June 2017 against an approved total project budget of $92 million,” the statement read.


On Mupani mine, which is scheduled to replace Ngwarati and Rukodzi mines, the company said, “The development of Mupani Mine is on schedule, targeting ore contact by May 2020 and full production in August 2025.

“A total of $11 million had been spent on the project as at 30 June 2017 against an approved total project budget of $264 million.”

About $3,5 million in royalties was paid marking an 11 percent increase compared with last year. Zimplats’ platinum matte is further processed at refineries in South Africa.

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