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Mines Minister Obert Mpofu denied UK visa

THE British embassy in Harare has denied Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu a visa to travel to the United Kingdom.

Minister Mpofu had been invited to attend the 6th International Mining in Africa symposium on Zimbabwe — where he was expected to give a key address today.

Officials from the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe approached the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Andrew Pocock, yesterday morning and impressed upon him that they would stop their delegation from travelling to Britain in solidarity with Minister Mpofu and the Government.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who is on a six-nation tour of Western capitals, is already in London where he is scheduled to address the symposium today.

The 6th International Mining in Africa Conference, running under the theme — ‘‘Mining in Zimbabwe . . . a new beginning? . . . The Opportunities, Risks and Rewards” is being organised by OMEGA Investment Mining Partners.

Minister Mpofu yesterday confirmed the British embassy had denied him a visa, but referred all questions to Acting Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara who was tasked by President Mugabe to deal with the travel ban issue.

“Yes, the visa was denied . . . We are not excited at all . . . It’s the kind of attitude that we get from these people (British) . . . For more information, talk to the Acting Prime Minister who has been handling the issue,” Minister Mpofu said.

A representative of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe Mr Victor Gapare could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was said to be locked up in a series of meetings and his mobile phone went unanswered. The Herald