Zimbabwe Wants Impala Platinum Land as $6.7 Billion Plan Stalls – by Godfrey Marawanyika and Kevin Crowley (Bloomberg News – July 14, 2016)


Zimbabwe has applied for a court order to force an Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. unit to sell almost 28,000 hectares (69,000 acres) of its mining lease to the state, land the government says will benefit the economy.

The land, held under a lease by Zimplats Holdings Ltd. but owned by the state, hasn’t been developed as the company planned and as such is “excess” to requirements, the government argued in affidavits filed to the country’s administrative court.

“Compulsory acquisition of the land is necessary for economic growth,” Zimbabwean Mines Minister Walter Chidakwa said in the affidavit.

In 2009, Zimplats said it planned to spend $6.7 billion over the next 20 years to produce about 1 million ounces of platinum a year, according to a document accompanying the government’s case. In 2015, Zimplats produced just 190,000 ounces of the metal, which is mainly used to curb emissions from vehicles and as jewelry.

The government wants to use to the land to build a 600-megawatt power plant, which it says will earn the state $3 billion a year. There will also be “numerous” other benefits to the economy, it said.

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