August 14, 2008 / 10:55 AM / 10 years ago

Anglo holds talks with MDC on Zim mining rights-FT

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Anglo American (AAL.L) has held secret talks with Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) about getting lucrative platinum mining concessions should the opposition gain power, the Financial Times said.

The FT quoted in its European edition two senior MDC figures on Thursday as saying it held talks with Anglo American about possibly granting mining rights to the company’s platinum unit Anglo Platinum (AMSJ.J).

South African President Thabo Mbeki is trying to broker a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai after widely-condemned polls this year plunged the country further into political and economic crisis.

The FT said the MDC planned to review mining in the country, which has the world’s second biggest platinum reserves after South Africa, should it win power.

    Neither Anglo American nor MDC officials could immediately be reached for comment on the article.

    A deal that wrests at least some power from Mugabe and promotes political and economic stability could spur investment in Zimbabwe, which was once one of Africa’s most prosperous countries but now faces spiralling inflation and biting poverty.

    Impala Platinum’s (IMPJ.J) Zimplats is the biggest platinum miner in Zimbabwe.

    Angloplat owns the Unki project and said last month it aimed to start output there in about two years despite criticism by British politicians and investors about investing in Zimbabwe while Mugabe retains power.

    Writing by Rebecca Harrison; Editing by Peter Blackburn

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