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Zimbabwe Rejects Zimplats Call to Extend Date to Cede Stake

Zimbabwe rejected a request by Zimplats, a unit of Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., to extend a deadline to hand over a 29.5 percent stake to the country.

“You are advised that your request for a 30-day extension has been rejected by the honorable minister and your company is expected to comply with the law as stated in our Feb. 22 letter to you,” Indigenization Secretary George Magosvongwe said in a letter obtained by Bloomberg News today that was addressed to Chief Executive Officer Alex Mhembere and dated March 2.

Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told Impala, the world’s second-biggest platinum producer, on Feb. 22 it had 14 days to hand the stake to the National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Fund or face “enforcement mechanisms.” Two years ago, Zimbabwe published new rules demanding foreign companies transfer 51 percent of domestic operations to locals.

Impala declined to comment in an e-mailed response to a request for comment today.

Senior government officials are set to meet to discuss Zimplats today, the Harare-based Herald newspaper reported.

“Impala haven’t as far as I know approached us, the Department of Trade and Industry, for any advice,” South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said in an interview in Cape Town. “We could discuss with them the terms” of an investment protection agreement South Africa has with Zimbabwe “and what it covers and what it doesn’t. There are a number of mechanisms and remedies available in terms of that.”

Impala retreated for a fourth day, declining 2.7 percent to 158.81 rand by the close in Johannesburg.

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