News / Africa

Platinum Giant Cedes Majority Stake in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe opens the country's Parliament in Harare, October 30, 2012.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe opens the country's Parliament in Harare, October 30, 2012.
The world’s largest producer of platinum has bowed to pressure to cede 51 percent of its mining operations in Zimbabwe to local black concerns - under President’s Mugabe’s controversial indigenization policy. 

The Anglo American Platinum announcement comes as the company struggles with wildcat strikes in South Africa.  Zimbabwe, meanwhile, is stalled in getting financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), due in part to concerns that the indigenization policy chases away much-needed foreign investment. 

Indigenization law

Anglo American became the second mining giant to comply with the indigenization law requiring all foreign-owned companies to transfer a majority stake of their Zimbabwe operations to local blacks.  The law is aimed at what the government says is addressing racial inequalities lingering from white colonial rule.

Anglo American Platinum executive in Zimbabwe, July Ndlovu, says he hopes surrendering the company's majority stake will benefit Zimbabweans.

"It has not been easy.  We have argued a lot, but we engaged in this process with only one single purpose in mind: which was to find a transaction which is value credited and beneficial to all parties and can ensure a sustainable mining investment in this country," said Ndlovu.

The deal calls for a 51 percent transfer of Anglo’s Unki mine - worth more than $140 million - to a state fund, mine employees, a community trust and unnamed local investors.

Earlier this year, Impala Platinum became the first mining concern to transfer 51 percent of its Zimbabwe operation Zimplats to local black interests under the same law.

Disincentive to investors

Zimbabwe has some of the world's largest known platinum deposits and the transfers are seen by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party as a financial windfall in the cash strapped country.

But coalition partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his MDC party and many economists disagree - saying the indigenization policy is a disincentive for continued and new foreign investment.

It also appears to be a major obstacle in getting IMF and World Bank loans.  The IMF did relax restrictions on technical assistance to Zimbabwe earlier this week - but that does not translate into funding, says analyst John Robertson from Robertson Economic Information Services.

"The government has been crying for money and this is not money.  This is advice.  If we follow the advice we may qualify for financial assistance," he said.

But Zimbabwe's Empowerment and Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere argues indigenization is actually creating a sustainable mining investment in Zimbabwe - and those that see it any other way need not invest in the African country. 

“This policy has been extensively debated.  If major, those major, investors can accept that this policy gives them a fair return, to then say [it] scares away investors - if there are investors who do not want - must stay in their own countries," said Kasukuwere.

It remains to be seen if Anglo American will reap a fair return in Zimbabwe after giving up its majority stake and it is not clear if the move is related to its recent troubles in South Africa.

The platinum giant has been facing illegal strikes since mid-September in spiraling labor actions across much of the mining sector.   Some 12,000 platinum miners have yet to return to work at mines outside of Johannesburg.  The company says production is down by 3,694 ounces of platinum - or $5.7 million - per day. So far losses have amounted to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in about six weeks.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs