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Zimbabwe takes full control of controversial State miner

9th February 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Zimbabwe’s state sovereign wealth fund has now acquired all of state mining company Kuvimba Mining House Ltd., in a bid to end speculation about its ownership.

Kuvimba holds some of Zimbabwe’s best mining assets, which were once owned by a company controlled by US- and UK-sanctioned tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei, an adviser to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The government has never given details of how they came to fall under its control other than to say they were acquired for an undisclosed amount.

Kuvimba was, in 2021, said by the government to be 65% state-owned with 35% of it being held by private investors, later described as a management consortium. Mutapa Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund, initially took over the 65% held by the government and has now bought the rest, said Simba Chinyemba, Kuvimba’s chief executive officer.

“The speculation was unhelpful and the fact that that speculation did not die out despite us presenting the evidence of the structure of Kuvimba” complicated its dealing, Chinyemba said in an interview in Cape Town on Thursday. “If there are questions about your shareholding then potential investors would want to think a little bit deeper about investing.”

Chinyemba said he was one of the beneficiaries of the buyout and that Tagwirei had never benefited from its operations, which include nickel and gold mines and lithium and platinum deposits. He wouldn’t disclose the amount paid for the 35% or when the transaction was completed, but said it was “very fresh.”

In 2021 Bloomberg reported on a trove of emails, documents and WhatsApp messages that delineated the links between Tagwirei and his company, Sotic International Ltd., and the Financial Times and The Sentry followed with reports giving details of the relationship later that year.

Kuvimba said at the time it planned to hold an initial public offering. Its assets include Darwendale, Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum deposit, that was previously partly owned by Russian investors.

Tagwirei, known in Zimbabwe as “Queen Bee” because of his political and economic influence, was sanctioned by the US in 2020 for alleged corruption and the UK followed suit in 2021.

--With assistance from Godfrey Marawanyika.

Edited by Bloomberg

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