Government set to take over mine
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.