Mugabe goes for mines

Zimbabwe is at an "advanced stage" in finalising a controversial law designed to give locals shares in foreign-owned mines.

Zimbabwe is at an "advanced stage" in finalising a controversial law designed to give locals shares in foreign-owned mines.

It had also sealed joint mining deals with China, President Robert Mugabe said yesterday.

Mugabe's government unsettled the mining industry in March when it announced plans to amend the mining laws and "indigenise" [sic] 51percent of all foreign-owned mining companies, with 25percent going to the state for free.

Mugabe has repeatedly stressed that Zimbabweans should be in control of their rich natural resources.

The government empowerment plan has worried investors in one of the few sectors of Zimbabwe's economy that has continued to attract foreign capital after the collapse of the key agriculture sector.

Critics blame this collapse on Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms.

On Friday Mugabe said his government would not allow land-grab style seizures of mines by top officials, a statement analysts said was designed to calm jittery foreign mining firms.

The mining industry has overtaken agriculture as the top foreign currency earner . - Reuters

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