News24

Zim will not take mines - Mugabe

2010-05-29 09:54

Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Friday said the government would not expropriate mining firms under the country's controversial equity laws.

"Government has no intention of expropriating the mining industry. No mine has been nationalised since independence," Mugabe told an annual congress of the Chamber of Mines in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Mugabe's remarks sought to allay fears raised by a new law that compels large foreign companies to sell at least 51% stakes to local shareholders.

Mugabe has said the mining sector will be the first target for the rules.

Firms had been given 45 days to report their efforts at complying, but the deadline has been extended indefinitely.

The Chamber of Mines has proposed ceding 15% to locals, saying government should recognise that most mining companies build schools and roads in the areas where they operate, benefiting nearby communities.

"The implementation of the empowerment initiative will take cognisance of the need to promote growth," Mugabe told the miners.

"Such growth requires new investment, particularly foreign direct investment."

"Accordingly, mechanisms are being refined to ensure that investors find it attractive to expand current operations and bring in new investment into the country," he said.

"Local investors have to demonstrate fair value for their equity stake in the process."