ZIMBABWE-HARARE-The Zimbabwean government lost more than 3 billion pounds in potential investments after some British companies failed to trash out how they can pump in the money following aborted consultations when Zanu Pf Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu was denied a visa to travel to Britain for a mining conference last week.
Mpofu was meant to attend the 6th Mining in Africa symposium on Zimbabwe in London last week where he was also scheduled to give a key address but the British embassy in Harare denied him a visa into the country.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mpofu said he had received calls from potential investors willing to invest into the mining sector but indicated that they could not go ahead since they could not get the correct Government position after the minister was denied the chance to meet them in Britain.
“I had previously received calls from potential investors who had mobilised 3 billion pounds towards the mining sector. The Investors indicated that it will now be difficult to go ahead since they did not meet the minister as was planned,” he said.
He said after he had been denied a UK visa the same investors called him expressing regret on the country’s stance on Zimbabwe.
A number of investors are concerned over the move by the Government to offer 51% stake of any mining concesssions to Zimbabweans .
Mpofu accused Britain of ignoring Zimbabwe’s extended hand of friendship through Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent six-week tour of the west explaining the GPA and trying to mobilise resources for the country.
“We do not know how they want us to engage them with the attitude they displayed. It is up to them to make up their minds,” he said.
Mpofu however said the British stance would not affect government relations with big British companies already operating in the country.
“As government, we are a responsible authority and would not be guided by the forces of negation. We will continue working with those who have already invested in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Companies already operating in the country are exempt from the bill government intends to craft on ownership percentages.
“The bill is going to affect new companies that have interests in investing in the mining sector,” he said.