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Impala Says Zimbabwe Unit Talks With New Government Constructive

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Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. said its Zimbabwean unit held “constructive” talks with the country’s new government over mining operations, including the requirement to sell majority stakes to black citizens.

“What we’re observing is a much more considered and measured attitude emanating from discussions with the authorities,” said Khotso Mokhele, chairman of Johannesburg-based Impala, which owns an 87 percent stake in Zimplats Holdings Ltd. “We welcome the constructive tone and believe it bodes well for finding win-win solutions and continued investment in that country.”

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party won a two-thirds parliamentary majority in July elections after sharing power with the rival Movement for Democratic Change from 2009. The previous government said in April it won’t pay for the controlling stakes companies are obliged to hand over to the state and local citizens after it agreed a financed deal with Zimplats, the country’s biggest platinum producer, in January.

It was too early to speak about an outcome on the so-called indigenization deal, Mokhele said today in an interview after Impala’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg.

“As to where we move from here I cannot say for sure, but it is likely that we will have to revisit certain areas.”

Zimplats also raised issues over electricity supply, mining royalties and foreign-exchange regulations with the government, Johan Theron, spokesman for Impala, said by phone.

The interests of shareholders and executives of the company, the biggest platinum producer after Anglo American Platinum Ltd., remained aligned even as Chief Executive Officer Terence Goodlace opted not to be paid incentive bonuses, Mokhele said.

Goodlace was paid 7.5 million rand ($767,248) in salary and benefits during the previous fiscal year and won’t receive an increase in 2014.

“Some of us believe it is honorable,” said Mokhele. “We have this gap between chief executives and ordinary workers, and companies are clever at hiding that gap by packaging a whole chunk of benefits for chief executives through incentive schemes.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andre Janse van Vuuren in Johannesburg at ajansevanvuu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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