Foreign miners will be expelled from Zimbabwe unless they meet a September deadline for a proposal to sell the majority of shares to locals, the empowerment minister said.
Under a new law, miners operating in the African country must sell the majority stake to local black investors or risk losing the entire asset, Reuters reports.
"By end of September any mining companies that do not comply, we will kick them out," indigenisation minister Savious Kasukuwere said.
“We have received 175 proposals from mining companies and we’ve turned down all of them. The proposals were that 26% would be done through social credits and 25 percent direct equity," he said.
The Zimbabwean Government says the miners can earn social credits towards their proposals by investing in local infrastructure development projects such as schools, hospitals and roads as well as training local workers.
While the move is supported by incumbent president Robert Mugabe, it has been slammed by prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai who says it will discourage investment.
Tsvangirai went on to call the new law “looting and plunder by a greedy elite”.
The local ownership rule officially became a law in 2008.
Foreign miners in Zimbabwe include Zimplats Holdings, Rio Tinto which operates the Murowa diamond mine, and Anglo Platinum.
Image: Rio Tinto’s Murowa Diamond mine