File image: Reuters

Platinum miners Aquarius Platinum and Impala Platinum will sell a 51 percent stake in their Zimbabwean joint venture to locals in a $550 million deal to meet affirmative action targets, Aquarius said on Friday.

Zimbabwe is demanding foreign-owned companies transfer a 51 percent stake in their local operations to black Zimbabweans, putting its heaviest pressure on mining firms to make the deals.

The term sheet‚ signed on Friday‚ provides for the key terms‚ subject to certain conditions precedent‚ of the sale by Mimosa Investments of an aggregate 51% equity ownership of Mimosa Holdings (Private) Limited‚ the wholly owned operating subsidiary of Mimosa Investments which owns and manages the Mimosa mine‚ to select indigenous entities.

The sale consideration for the 51% of Mimosa Holdings to the indigenous parties is US$550 million (50% attributable to Aquarius)‚ based on an agreed fair market value for Mimosa Holdings of US$1.078 billion.

Mimosa Investments will provide a vendor loan funding mechanism to facilitate the transaction which has a term of ten years. This loan will bear interest at a rate of 9% annually and will be settled through the waiver of the right to receive 90% of dividends due to the indigenous entities in favour of Mimosa Investments.

Any loan balance outstanding at the end of the ten-year period will be payable in cash.

The parties acknowledge that the existing arrangement in terms of which Mimosa Investment provides management and technical services to Mimosa will continue. The terms of the Mimosa Holdings Shareholder Agreement to be executed by all parties will reflect the exclusive appointment of Mimosa Investments to continue to manage Mimosa and the terms and conditions of such management.

In terms of the IIP‚ the 51% interest in Mimosa Holdings will be sold as follows:

- 10% to the Zvishavane Community Share Ownership Trust ("Community Trust"). This is the community in which the Mimosa mine is located.

- 10% to an employee share ownership trust to be established for the benefit of all permanent indigenous employees.

- 31% to the National Indigenisation & Economic Empowerment Fund ("NIEEF").

In accordance with the terms of the Community Trust Deed‚ Mimosa will contribute an amount of US$10 million in aggregate over a period of three years as part of Mimosa's Corporate Social Investment in Zimbabwe. To date‚ a total of US$3 million has been paid to the Community Trust.

Saviour Kasukuwere‚ Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth Development‚ Indigenisation and Empowerment‚ noted: "The negotiations around the indigenisation plan for Mimosa Investments were cordial and frank. I am pleased to say that Mimosa Investments’ indigenisation plan reflects the spirit and letter of Zimbabwean law and signals that we welcome Aquarius as an investor to Zimbabwe."

Jean Nel‚ Chief Executive Officer of Aquarius‚ commented‚ "Although the negotiations have taken some time‚ the final plan represents a significant mile stone for Aquarius and Mimosa as we work towards full compliance with the law and regulations in Zimbabwe. The indigenisation plan‚ once implemented‚ will offer Mimosa security of tenure and is a true reflection of the worth of our investment in Mimosa Investments‚ a valuable asset and one of the lowest cost producers in the PGM sector globally.

“A particularly pleasing aspect of the plan is that it includes an employee share ownership trust as well as a community trust‚ so as to ensure all stakeholders benefit from the continued operation of Mimosa. Mimosa’s relationships with the Government of Zimbabwe‚ its employees and communities have been fundamental to its success in the past and will remain important in the future." - I-Net Bridge and Reuters