Mugabe Seizes Platinum and Diamond Mines

Takeover likely to kill all remaining foreign investment
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2007 7:32 AM CST
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Zimbabwe's catastrophic economic situation got still worse yesterday as Robert Mugabe announced a new law giving the government controlling stakes in the country's platinum and diamond mines. The Times of London writes that the state may now take control of 51% of all mining companies and has to pay for only half of it. One economist called the plan "damaging in the extreme."

In a country where inflation has hit 15,000%—bus fare in the capital now costs 1.6 million Zimbabwean dollars, paid for with money in a plastic bag—the state takeover of the mining industry can only make things worse, killing off all remaining foreign investment. Since the collapse of commercial farming following Mugabe's seizure of white-owned land, mining has been the only major industry left in Zimbabwe.