The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Indigenization under which foreign-owned mining companies would set aside 10 percent of their equity shares for indigenous blacks under the indigenization program.
Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Christopher Hokonya said most mining concerns are willing to set up special shareholding structures for blacks to comply with the 2007 Indigenization Act.
“We believe that there is no one who has the capital to buy anything up to 51 percent of shares in mining companies and this is the reason why we have made this proposal,” said Hokonya.
He told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that these proposals could allow international financial institutions to fund the acquisition of equity shares in mines by ordinary Zimbabweans.
Economist Rejoice Ngwenya said the Chamber of Mines proposals set the stage for a positive revision of controversial indigenization regulations, which have caused concern among foreign investors.
Ngwenya said a 10 percent equity stake for local blacks is a reasonable figure for foreign-owned companies to consider given that they are also expected to provide development aid to local communities.
“If companies are reminded of their corporate social responsibilities, they are likely to comply with some provisions of the indigenization act as long as shares are not ceded to indigenous people or groups,” he said.
The indigenization regulations stipulate that foreign-owned companies with assets of at US$500,000 or more must make over a controlling stake of not less than 51 percent to Zimbabwean blacks. But the means by which such control would be transferred, or the compensation mechanism, is not clear.