Caledonia praises ED
AIM-LISTED mining group, Caledonia Mining Corporation, has showered praises on the Government for taking bold steps in implementing investment reforms which will add impetus to attracting investors and enhancing economic growth.
The mining group owns one of Zimbabwe’s leading gold operations, Blanket Mine, which is based in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province. In a televised interview posted on the group’s website, Caledonia chief financial officer, Mr Mark Learmoth, commended President Mnangagwa and his administration for coming up with investment policies aimed at restoring economic growth in Zimbabwe.
“As people would know, Robert Mugabe was unceremoniously thrown out of office last November, which I think came as a surprise to most people. And since then there have been elections and Zanu-PF and Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new President have been re-elected.
“I got to say we were somewhat disappointed in some of the activities that happened after the elections (unfortunate August 1 fatalities in Harare after the elections).
“But I think people must understand and it’s very easy to miss this, if you’re sitting in Germany or the UK,” he said, adding that there has been a very significant change politically in Zimbabwe.
“People might just assume that Mnangagwa is from the same mould as Mugabe, I’ve met Mnangagwa personally several times since the elections and Steve Curtis our chief executive officer has also met him (President Mnangagwa) several times.”
Before the coming in of the new political administration under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe was failing to attract meaningful foreign direct investment inflows due to policies such as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, which the Government has since reviewed.
Through the Finance Bill, the Government has amended the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act to restrict the 51/49 percent threshold to diamonds and platinum sectors only.
This means the 51/49 threshold will no longer apply to the rest of the extractive sector, nor will it apply to other sectors of the economy, which will be open to any investor regardless of nationality.
Since November last year, Zimbabwe has attracted investment proposals worth over $15 billion and a fortnight ago, Cabinet approved 11 investment projects worth $5,3 billion. The investment deals, which are expected to be implemented soon, cut across different economic sectors. The deals include the $130 million Cold Storage Company joint venture agreement with Boustead Beef, a United Kingdom headquartered firm.
Mr Learmoth said the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra demonstrates that the Government is absolutely focused on working together with investors from all over the world in rekindling economic growth.
“I think they understand that Government by itself can’t create jobs, they need mining companies and agriculture and investments, and they need growth. Absolutely clear in our mind is the Government is really focused on trying to sort of eradicate the obstacles for people like us.
“But the most important case in point is the bold step that he took immediately after he became the President that we (Caledonia) are taking advantage of, is the rolling back of the local ownership requirements.
“One of the big impediments to foreign investments in Zimbabwe was the requirement for all businesses in Zimbabwe to be 51 percent owned by local people.
“We (Caledonia) did that 51 percent local ownership in 2012 but having gotten rid of this local ownership requirement completely, we’re now in a position where we are beginning to roll back our indigenisation process,” said Mr Learmoth.
“There is very clear demonstration to the world that things have changed in Zimbabwe and people must not under-estimate that.”
Caledonia has proposed to increase its shareholding in Blanket from 49 percent to 64 percent through the acquisition of Fremiro’s 15 percent shareholding in Blanket Mine. As a result of the transaction, Fremiro will hold 6,42 percent of Caledonia’s diluted equity. In 2017, Blanket Mine produced a record high of 56 135 ounces and this year the gold producer targets output levels of between 56 000oz and 59 000oz and by 2021 output is anticipated to have reached 80 000oz. — @ okazunga
Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Raj Modi, being interviewed by Indian journalists in Navsari, India, on Monday