Zimbabwe's Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere.

Johannesburg - Impala Platinum’s Zimbabwean unit must cede 51 percent ownership to the country without compensation, Zimbabwe Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said March 1 that the country shouldn’t pay for the stake in Zimplats because all natural resources belong to the state.

“They know what the president said and they have to do that,” Kasukuwere said today by telephone from Harare, the capital.

Impala, which owned 87 percent of Zimplats and is the world’s biggest producer of the metal after Anglo American Platinum, signed terms to sell 51 percent of the unit to the country’s black citizens in January.

Any previous agreement between Zimplats and Zimbabwe’s National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Board must now “take into account” Mugabe’s statement, Kasukuwere said.

Calls to Zimplats Chief Executive Officer Alex Mhembere in Harare weren’t answered.

Zimbabwe seized 27,498 hectares (67,949 acres) of Zimplats’s land March 1, saying the company had 30 days to appeal a decree contained in the Government Gazette. - Bloomberg News