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Zimbabwe: Mine Ownership Proposal

(May 24, 2010) On May 19, 2010, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, an umbrella organization of companies involved in the mining industry, proposed a much more moderate rule on local ownership of mines than had previously been adopted by the government. A recent Zimbabwean law on the subject states that foreign mining firms must have 51% local stakeholders; the Chamber suggests that 15% would be sufficient. Pointing out that mining companies build schools, hospitals, and roads, Victor Gapare, the Chamber's president, argues that the companies already benefit the communities in which they operate. He stated that such development is “true empowerment” of the local population. The 50% standard has been making it difficult for companies to raise capital, Gapare said. (Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines Calls for “Compromise” on Local Ownership Law, AFP, May 19, 2010, World News Connection online, subscription database, Document No. 201005191477.1_ed34003ae27b679d.)

The new law on indigenous ownership became effective on March 1, 2010, and applies to foreign companies with a value of more than US$500,000. Originally the firms had 45 days in which to report the steps taken to comply, but that deadline was lifted and no new one has been put in place. (Id.; see also Wendy Zeldin, Zimbabwe: Indigenization and Empowerment Act, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, Apr. 2, 2008, available at rmal”>//