Zimbabwe's Mutapa Investment Fund Acquires Kuvimba Mining House
Zimbabwe’s state sovereign wealth fund, the Mutapa Investment Fund, has acquired full ownership of Kuvimba Mining House Ltd, a state mining company, Bloomberg reports. Kuvimba holds valuable mining assets that were previously controlled by Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a tycoon sanctioned by the US and UK and an advisor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The government has not provided detailed information on how it gained control of these assets, except to say that they were acquired for an undisclosed amount. Initially, in 2021, the government stated that Kuvimba was 65% state-owned, with the remaining 35% held by private investors described as a management consortium. The Mutapa Investment Fund first took over the government’s 65% stake and has now purchased the remaining 35%.
According to Simba Chinyemba, Kuvimba’s CEO, speculation about ownership has been unhelpful and persistent, despite evidence of Kuvimba’s structure, Chinyemba said in an interview in Cape Town on Thursday. “Kuvimba’s CEO. He spoke to Bloomberg in an interview in Cape Town on Thursday:
The speculation was unhelpful and the fact that the speculation did not die out despite us presenting the evidence of the structure of Kuvimba. If there are questions about your shareholding then potential investors would want to think a little bit deeper about investing.
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He said such speculation complicates business dealings and may deter potential investors. Chinyemba confirmed being one of the beneficiaries of the buyout and emphasised that Tagwirei never owned or profited from the company’s operations, which include nickel and gold mines, as well as lithium and platinum deposits.
The amount paid for the 35% stake and the completion date of the transaction were not disclosed, but Chinyemba mentioned that it was a recent development. In 2021, Bloomberg published reports revealing the connections between Tagwirei and Sotic International Ltd., the company that previously held the assets now controlled by Kuvimba. Additional details about their relationship were later reported by The Financial Times and The Sentry.
Chinyemba stated that Tagwirei, who was sanctioned by the US and UK governments, has no involvement in managing the business and does not hold any shares or receive royalties from Kuvimba. He emphasised the company’s focus on moving forward and raised the possibility of an initial public offering three years ago. Kuvimba’s assets include Darwendale, Zimbabwe’s largest platinum deposit, which was partially owned by Russian investors.
Currently, Kuvimba is working to secure nearly $900 million for the construction of platinum and lithium mines within its portfolio, as well as expanding one of its gold mines. Chinyemba stated that the company prefers to raise debt for the platinum and gold projects and form a joint venture for the lithium investment. Despite recent declines in lithium and platinum-group metal prices, Kuvimba believes it is the right time to develop new mines due to their long-term prospects.
Chinyemba expressed the company’s readiness to pursue funding opportunities, stating, “We don’t want to find ourselves trying to start production or trying to build plants when prices are high. If the funding is available now, we would happily go for it.”