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Zimbabwe's mining firms: we'll sell 26%

CBJ – March 11 – The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe said the nation's miners are willing to sell 26 per cent stakes to local owners as part of the Zimbabwean government's nationalization plan, Reuters is reporting.

“The sector committee on indigenization in mining recommended a threshold of 26 per cent, which is what the chamber is comfortable with,” Chambers of Mines President Victor Gapare told the news agency today.

Earlier this week, the country's minister of youth empowerment and indigenization, Saviour Kasukuwere, said Zimbabwe's mine ownership rules would be published today, and the new regulations would be in effect within a week.

However, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday that regulations that would see foreign companies nationalized have not yet been drawn up by Zimbabwe's cabinet, nor had specifics been agreed upon regarding a sovereign wealth fund to buy 51 per cent of mining firms, despite the minister's earlier statements.

That confusion is the big problem, Gapare said.

“Government must stop flip-flopping on this issue and come clean once and for all,” he said.

The pending regulations will likely wrest control of mines held by the likes of Anglo Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group.

According to Kasukuwere, mining companies only paid US$4 million in taxes on $1.7 billion in mineral exports last year – nearly 30 per cent of Zimbabwe's annual gross domestic product.

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