Zimplats chief executive Alex Mhembere said yesterday that uncertainties and volatile commodity markets have seen resources firms limiting expansionary projects and greenfield operations in the country.
“We operate an inherently risky business. We expect that there will always be changes in terms of the regulatory and operating environment,” said Mhembere. Zimplats is the biggest mining operation in Zimbabwe.
The company is still engaged with the government on compliance with indigenisation laws that seek to make foreign-owned companies cede majority shares into the hands of black Zimbabwean groups.
Mhembere said that he was confident the dialogue would yield results as the government had just relented on its demands that existing foreign miners give up 51percent shares in exchange for having the miners spend 75percent of their earnings in Zimbabwe.
“We can always go and knock on the doors of ministers and have a discussion,” Mhembere said. In the year to June 2017, Zimplats’ revenues surged 9percent to $512million (R6.65billion), with margins improving from 17percent in 2016 to 28percent in the period under review.
Pre-tax profits raced to $101m as the company benefited from the issuance of treasury bills to settle a long-standing debt owed by the central bank and also paid out a 2.5percent incentive to the company's export receipts.
“We are now seeing glimpses of sunlight,” Mhembere said. “Not tomorrow, but in the near future. We have made progress in the recovery of Bimha mine and have worked hard to make sure we come out on top of things.”