Zimbabwe to Take Impala Platinum Unit Land Even as Talks Proceed

Zimbabwe has no intention of stopping the acquisition of land from Zimplats Ltd. even as the appeal by the country’s biggest platinum producer against the plan is discussed, Mines Secretary Prince Mupazviriho said.

“It’s an issue that’s under discussion,” he said by phone today. “This is a procedural issue, that’s why we gazetted the issue to say if anyone has concerns or an objection it can be raised, but this doesn’t mean we will stop the acquisition of the land.”

The southern African nation’s government on March 1 gave Zimplats 30 days to appeal a decree that the country would seize 27,498 hectares (67,949 acres) of the company’s land. In the April 26 edition of the gazette, published today, the government said the nation “intends to acquire compulsorily” part of the land held by Zimplats, which is 87 percent owned by Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP), the world’s biggest producer of the metal after Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS)

Zimplats is in talks with the government, Chief Executive Officer Alex Mhembere said by e-mail today.

Zimbabwe, which has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after South Africa, is preparing a law allowing it to seize controlling stakes in companies without compensation, according to a draft of the legislation obtained by Bloomberg News.

The law would be an amendment to a 2007 act that compels foreign and white-owned companies such as Rio Tinto Group, Sinosteel Corp. and Impala to sell or cede 51 percent of their shares to black nationals or state-approved agencies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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