* Platinum producers to sell through "authorised dealer"
* Chamber says proposals would stunt industry growth
* Government could regulate prices of some minerals
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, May 20 Zimbabwe's mining chamber said
tighter proposed state control over the sale of minerals would
hit Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum
Holdings Ltd, slow down foreign investment and stunt
growth in the industry.
Zimbabwe's mines ministry in March produced a draft Minerals
Policy, which seeks to increase state participation in
exploration, mining and the selling of metals and minerals.
The mining chamber and other stakeholders will debate the
policy on May 29 and their deliberations would heavily influence
the form of a new mining law for the country.
Under the proposals gold and platinum would be sold through
a state appointed "authorised dealer". Other mineral sales would
be via state-owned Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe,
which the mining chamber says would bring inefficiency and
higher costs to the industry.
In a draft response by the Chamber of Mines seen by Reuters
on Monday, mining companies said the proposed policy showed
Zimbabwe was moving from market policies.
"This effectively crowds out private sector, brings down
impetus for innovation and ultimately scares away investment,"
the document said.
A Chamber of Mines spokesman could not immediately comment.
The proposals will affect an industry that has seen
foreign-owned mines sell majority shares to black interests
under President Robert Mugabe's black economic empowerment
Part of the proposals will see the ministry of finance
picking an approved dealer through which platinum and gold
producers will sell the precious metals.
Implats and Amplats, which have operations in the country,
as well as gold producers independently sell their output and
report the transactions to the government.
The government would also consider regulating how much coal
and iron that can be mined by companies as well as setting
prices of these "strategic minerals" for the local market.
Parliament is dissolved on June 29 with general elections
slated to take place soon after. The new mining proposals are
likely become law in the next five-year parliament.
Mining accounts for the highest export earnings in the
southern African nation, which holds the second largest deposits
of platinum behind neighbouring South Africa.