Zimbabwe to nationalise all mines
Harare - The government of Zimbabwe plans to nationalize mining activities, taking 100% of alluvial diamond mining and 51% of other minerals, a cabinet minister was quoted on Thursday as saying.
Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere was quoted in the state-owned Herald newspaper as saying that the cabinet of the country's coalition government agreed "unanimously" on Tuesday to the new measures.
They would take effect as soon as official regulations were published, Kasukuwere said. No confirmation from other senior officials was immediately available.
He was also quoted as saying that "all new projects in the mining sector are expected to comply with the above requirements of the law," which analysts said perhaps suggested that existing mines would not be affected.
Mining is Zimbabwe's largest source of income, dominated by a $1.5bn platinum complex owned by South Africa's Impala Platinum, the biggest producer in the world.
The country also has several foreign-owned gold mines as well as ferrochrome and diamonds.
The Marange diamonds fields in the east have been plagued by charges of human rights abuses and looting by the army and government officials.
There are currently about eight operators licensed to mine the 60 000ha fields, none of them major international producers.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has frequently complained that the state receives only "peanuts" from Marange.
After eight years of catastrophic economic decline, Zimbabwe's economy began growing again last year following the establishment of a power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and former opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now prime minister.
The mining industry was the fastest growing sector of the economy this year, recording 47% growth.