Gov­ern­ment set to take over mine

The Washington Times Daily - - World - AFRICA

HARARE | Zim­babwe’s black-em­pow­er­ment min­is­ter said Wed­nes­day he will pro­ceed with a takeover of the coun­try’s big­gest plat­inum mine if the South African own­ers don’t com­ply with or­ders to hand over more stakes in the com­pany to blacks.

Min­is­ter Saviour Ka­sukuwere said there is “no com­pro­mise” over the even­tual han­dover of 51 per­cent of the com­pany’s stock as re­quired by “in­di­g­e­niza­tion” laws.

Last year, Zim­plats be­came the first for­eign-owned com­pany to cede 10 per­cent of its hold­ings to a lo­cal com­mu­nity trust. Zim­babwe has or­dered the com­pany to hand over an­other 30 per­cent by mid-march.

South African-based Im­plats owns 87 per­cent of ex­ist­ing shares in Zim­plats.

Zim­babwe and South Africa are the world’s largest sup­pli­ers of plat­inum, a cor­ro­sion-re­sis­tant me­tal with a wide range of in­dus­trial uses that is priced higher than gold.

Mr. Ka­sukuwere told the As­so­ci­ated Press Wed­nes­day that a pro­posed visit by Im­plats’ chief ex­ec­u­tive to dis­cuss the mat­ter would not change the gov­ern­ment’s decision.

He said he has no plans to meet with Im­plats CEO David Brown.

He said the pi­rates robbed the crew be­fore flee­ing in a small speed­boat with the ship’s cap­tain and chief en­gi­neer. One crew mem­ber was in­jured, and an­other was re­ported miss­ing, Mr. Choong said.

He added that it was un­clear whether the miss­ing crew mem­ber also had been kid­napped.

The Dutch-owned ves­sel, laden with re­frig­er­ated cargo, has 14 crew mem­bers from Rus­sia, Ukraine and the Philip­pines, he said. He did not say which coun­try or coun­tries the kid­napped crew mem­bers are from. Nige­rian au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing, he added.

Over the last year, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea — which fol­lows Africa’s south­ward curve from Liberia to Gabon — has es­ca­lated from lowlevel armed rob­beries to hi­jack­ings and cargo thefts.

There al­ready have been seven at­tacks this year off the coast of Nige­ria alone, and there are be­lieved to be many other cases that have gone un­re­ported, Mr. Choong said.

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