Aquarius Platinum and Impala face Zimbabwe’s rejection to sell-off plans

Shares in Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (LON, ASX: AQP), the fourth- largest producer of the metal, dropped 11% this morning in Johannesburg, the deepest decline since October 2008, after the company announced that Zimbabwe has rejected a joint proposal with Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (PINK:IMPUY) to meet local ownership rules.

According to the platinum miners, the rejection of parts of their sell-off plan for their 50-50 joint venture Mimosa mine came only a week after they took a step toward complying with the law, by putting $2 million into a community trust fund meant to repair roads and provide clean water for residents near the mine.

Legally, foreign miners have to sell a 51% stake to local Zimbabweans but a portion of the two companies' proposal was rejected and, unless an agreement was reached within 30 days, the minister of youth told the miners “enforcement mechanisms would be activated.”