Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. of South Africa has announced that it will invest US$500 million in its subsidiary Zimbabwe Platinum Mines, better known in Zimbabwe as Zimplats, creating more than a thousand jobs, despite the current lack of clarity over how the process of indigenization will unfold in Harare.
Zimplats Acting Chief Executive Patrick Shayawabaya said the investment, the largest in the country in a decade, will cover the cost of a 35,000 megaliter dam, 1,100 homes for workers, two schools and a hospital. He said the investment will boost platinum production from 180,000 ounces a year at present to some 270,000 ounces.
Shayawabaya told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that despite fears in Zimbabwe and internationally as to the indigenization or black empowerment process upon which the government has launched to implement a 2007 law, his company intends to stick to agreements signed with the government in 2006 which provide for disbursal of least 36 percent of mining revenues to local communities in return for empowerment credits.
In other economic news, KFW Banking Group of Germany, a state-controlled development bank, has obtained a legal order authorizing it to seize six properties belonging to Zimbabwe in recovery of a US$59 million debt.
A spokesman for the German institution told VOA the bank’s claims against Harare were upheld by the arbitration tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce. He declined to elaborate further, however.
The Sunday Times of South Africa reported that the loan was made to the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, or Zisco. The newspaper quoted a South African law firm as saying the Zimbabwean state properties in Pretoria, Johannesburg and in the Western Cape would be auctioned off on July 23.
The newspaper said Zisco made only four of 16 agreed installment payments to the German bank.
Chairman Masimba Kuchere of the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the Zimbabwean government needs to be more diligent about servicing its debts.