Zimplats says Zimbabwe asks court to enforce mining land seizure

HARARE, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe has filed a court application to enforce a previous notice to seize more than half of platinum producer Zimplats' mining land, the company said on Wednesday.

Zimplats, which is majority controlled by Impala Platinum in January said President Robert Mugabe's government had made a new attempt to compulsorily acquire 27,948 hectares of its mining ground, which the company opposed.

The platinum miner said that following its official objection to the government's action, Harare authorities went ahead to file a court application on June 26 seeking confirmation of the previous acquisition order.

"The operating subsidiary responded to the court application and the parties are currently engaged in discussions to find an amicable resolution of the matter," Zimplats said in a statement accompanying its results for the fourth quarter ending June.

Mugabe's government has previously defended the decision to seize Zimplats land, saying the miner had an excessive amount of ground and it wanted to distribute the claims to new companies.

Zimplats reported a 28 percent drop in profit to $30 million during the fourth quarter after operating expenses rose to $110 million from $86 million during the previous period.

Platinum sales increased to 152,938 ounces from 132,253 ounces but prices were four percent lower from the last quarter.

Zimplats ships its platinum matte for further processing at refineries in South Africa. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia amd Jane Merriman)