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Zimbabwe govt to own 51 pct in all mines: paper

By on December 9, 2010

Zimbabwe’s cabinet has agreed that the government will takeover all alluvial diamond mining in the country and own a 51 percent share in the mines extracting all other minerals, state media reported on Thursday.

“All new projects in the mining sector are expected to comply with the above requirements of the law,” Savior Kasukuwere, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister was quoted by the state-owned Herald newspaper as saying.

It was not immediately clear whether the new rules would affect existing miners.

The rules could impact major platinum miners Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings as well as Rio Tinto, which have operations in Zimbabwe.

The Herald said the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had also resolved that communities would receive 10 percent of the gross profit from mining activities in their areas.

The government published regulations in March this year requiring all foreign-owned firms, including banks and mines, to allot at least 51 percent of their shares to locals.

Kasukuwere said the cabinet had resolved that the government would now mine alluvial diamonds in Marange fields, where it has two joint venture mines with two South African companies, while some Chinese investors also operate a mine.

“This is the position of government and those companies will be sitting down with us to discuss (it) …. but the broad principle is that the alluvial diamonds belong to the state and they must benefit the people of Zimbabwe,” he said in the report.

Kasukuwere was unavailable for comment.

Alluvial diamonds are diamonds that have been removed from underground deposits by natural erosion and shifted to new environments such as river beds, shorelines or the ocean floor.

Zimbabwe is struggling to sell its Marange diamonds after the global gem regulator Kimberley Process barred its members from dealing in the stones, saying their certification by global regulators did not guarantee they were free from human rights abuses.

Reuters.

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