GOVERNMENT does not intend to take over Implats' Zimbabwe operations, Zimplats, President Robert Mugabe said yesterday, adding that he wanted the company to build a refinery in the country.
"Mr Brown, go and tell your shareholders that we don't intend to take over (Zimplats). We don't want to steal or rob that which does not belong to us, but we don't want to be robbed as well," Mugabe said to Implats chief executive officer David Brown.
Local communities are to acquire a 10% stake in Implats' Zimbabwe unit, Zimplats, under an empowerment deal, Brown said on Wednesday.
Impala Platinum, the world's second-largest producer of the precious metal, said in September a Zimbabwe government threat to revoke Zimplats' licence had "fallen away" after an agreement on a revised plan to comply with a law requiring foreign mining firms to turn over a 51% stake to local blacks.
Speaking at the official launch of the Ngezi Community Trust set up as part of the compliance measures, Brown said Impala Platinum planned a third phase of its expansion programme at Zimplats from 2014 which would raise output to 360 000 ounces per annum.
Zimplats would not be able to declare a dividend until its US$500 million expansion project was concluded.
"The Zimplats board has agreed to fund the operations of the Trust to the tune of US$10 million over a three-year period," Brown said.
He offered Zimplats' technical assistance to help state firm Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation mine a claim valued at US$153 million he said had not been utilised since being released to the government.
"In 2006, Zimplats released ground with 36 million ounces worth of resource. We note, however, that there's no production on those claims. We offer our technical assistance to bring that resource into production," Brown said.