HARARE – Despite government’s intention of compulsorily acquiring 22 000 hectares (ha) of land claims from ferrochrome producer, Zimbabwe Alloys (ZimAlloys), the former Anglo American subsidiary is scouting for a new investor.
In a notice published by the company’s judicial manager last week, ZimAlloys invited tenders from interested parties to invest in the ferrochrome concern.
“This invitation is not a prospectus and does not constitute or form part of any solicitation or invitation or any offer to the public to purchase the company or to subscribe to any ordinary shares in ZAL,” the notice said.
This comes as Mines minister Walter Chidakwa last year told delegates at the Zanu PF annual conference that Zimbabwe’s largest ferrochrome producer, Zimasco had already handed over 22 000ha of land claims to government, with expectations of acquiring ZimAlloys ground.
ZimAlloys holds a total of 39 175ha while Zimasco, the bigger of the two firms, last year conceded and surrendered 22 700ha out of its total claims covering 45 900ha to government.
The two companies jointly control about 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s chrome ore claims, mostly found along the Great Dyke.
“…As we speak, we have put up 2,3 million ha under reserve for allocation to new players in the sector… Zimasco has already submitted
22 000ha and we are in the final stages of getting an additional 22 000ha from ZimAlloys.
“This will benefit a lot of Zimbabweans who will use the land… So, please support the Mines and Minerals Act which gives government the power to repossess mining land owned by the big mining companies. This law should be passed (in Parliament),” the minister said then.
Chidakwa pointed out that the State — which owns all land under the country’s new Mines and Minerals Act — wanted to give the ground to black Zimbabweans who needed it.
“We will not release ground from State companies to the private sector. That will defeat the whole purpose of empowerment,” he said.
This is in light of Impala Platinum’s local unit, Zimplats’ battle with government in Administrative Court over the forced take-over of its nearly 28 000 hectares of claims.
ZimAlloys — until 2003 an Anglo American subsidiary — was purchased by a consortium of
local businessmen including banker Farai Rwodzi and Savanna Tobacco founder Adam Molai in 2006.
Since 2015, Chidakwa — who early last year booted out all but two of the country’s diamond miners — was pressing the two miners to release some ground.
In earlier discussions, ZimAlloys had offered 20 percent of its total hectarage, demanding compensation for some work done to develop some claims, as well as immovable equipment on underground claims. But Chidakwa threw the proposal out.
On May 30, 2016, the Mines ministry wrote to ZimAlloys, giving the company up to June 7 to hand over half its claims, or risk having them appropriated.