Zimbabwe Faces Mining-Asset Seizure Over Canceled Joint Ventures – by Loni Prinsloo, Antony Sguazzin and Godfrey Marawanyika (Bloomberg News – December 18, 2019)


Zimbabwe, which is banking on investment in its natural resources to arrest an economic free-fall, faces having the assets of the state mining company seized after a final appeal of a 2014 arbitration ruling failed.

Companies linked to British Virgin Islands-based Amari Holdings Ltd. won the right to seize assets worth $65.9 million in compensation for Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp.’s cancellation of nickel and platinum ventures formed in 2007 and 2008. The ruling by the International Court of Arbitration was made after a hearing in Lusaka, Zambia.

The development comes at a difficult time for Zimbabwe, with the government forecasting the economy will contract 6.5% this year because of crippling foreign-currency, fuel, wheat and power shortages.

The state is seeking to convince investors from Cyprus, South Africa, Russia and Nigeria to spend billions of dollars developing its platinum reserves, the world’s third-largest. It’s also rich in gold, chrome and iron ore.

“We are by law entitled to attach any asset belonging to the ZMDC or their 100% shareholder, the Zimbabwean government,” Ian Small-Smith, a lawyer acting for Amari, said Monday. “They seemingly still don’t appreciate how adversely this will impact the credibility of Zimbabwe as an investment destination.”

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