Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has reportedly declared that foreign-owned mining companies that are unwilling to part with a 51 percent stake as prescribed under his black economic empowerment program should prepare to leave the country.
The Standard newspaper quotes Kasukuwere as telling a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries seminar in Bulawayo that companies like Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings or Zimplats are arrogant because they do not want to comply with the law.
He said black Zimbabweans will take over mines once firms resisting indigenization shut down and will look to Chinese and Indian investors provide necessary capital.
Mining company executives declined to comment for the record saying they are now in negotiations with the Ministry of Mines seeking agreement on a stake of 26 percent to be conveyed to indigenous players, not 51 percent as demanded under indigenization.
Mining executives have until June 2 to present proposals for compliance.
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said mine operators should take Kasukuwere’s threat seriously - but added that Harare lacks that capacity to take over mine operations.
Kasukuwere's ZANU-PF party "is capable of doing anything, therefore mining companies should start engaging government on this issue because they can start grabbing mines despite the fact that almost all state-owned mines have since collapsed due to lack of capital and poor management,” Kanyenze told VOA reporter Gibbs Dube.