South African miner looking to hit gold in Zimbabwe
South Africa-based gold mining company, DRDGold, has announced it will start with exploration activities in Zimbabwe.
According to a company press release, preparations for an initial 28-week programme of exploration of the Leny claims, jointly held by DRDGOLD and Zimbabwe partner, Chizim Investments, have begun. Limited mining will take place during exploration, with any recovered gold helping to offset exploration costs. Chizim conducted limited exploration of two Leny veins in 2009, which showed grades varying between five and 25g/t.
Miningmx reports DRDGOLD was brought in as joint partner by Chizim to explore 32 contiguous claims spread over 550 hectares. Chizim is a tourism and fishing business owned by Lovemore Chihota, a long-serving member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The announcement comes at a time of great uncertainty about Zimbabwe’s future business landscape because of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. The Act, which compels foreign-owned companies to give-up a 51% stake in their businesses to black Zimbabweans, officially took effect on 1 March.
The Zimbabwe Independent reports the indigenisation regulations were recently suspended by cabinet following a storm of protest from the business and international communities. According to the newspaper, government is working on amendments to the Act.
DRDGold chief executive officer, Niel Pretorius, doesn’t seem concerned about the indigenisation law. “We’ll just dilute by one percent and have 49%,” Pretorius told Miningmx.