Africa Mining: Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum miner says local listing won’t work

Impala Platinum Holdings.jpgImpala Platinum Holdings said Zimbabwe’s plan to compel mining companies to list the majority of their shares on the local exchange isn’t feasible and would impede operators’ ability to grow and invest in their assets.

Lawmakers in the southern African nation are debating the measure as part of a bill that will also direct companies to use at least 85 percent of the funds raised from a Zimbabwean listing to develop their local rights. Platinum and diamonds are key exports for an economy that has halved in size since 2000 after a chaotic and violent land-reform program under former ruler Robert Mugabe.

“A local primary listing would only be feasible with the requisite in-country capacity to raise the required capital and sustain daily trading volumes in the equity,” Johan Theron, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based Impala, whose Zimplats unit is the country’s biggest platinum producer, said by email on Wednesday. “We believe much work still needs to be done before the economy can structurally support this.”

Zimplats, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, is seeing little interest from Zimbabwean entities even though investors in the country can already freely trade in the shares, “a clear sign” that a local listing is not viable at the moment, he said.

Impala would consider other options for local investors to participate in Zimplats and is still working to implement a community and employee share ownership plan, with each group holding 10 percent in the company, Theron said. EDITED BY: BLOOMBERG

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