ONLY two foreign exhibitors have so far registered for this yearâ€™s edition of Zimbabweâ€™s premier annual mining and engineering trade exhibition the Mine Entra to be held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.
The exhibition will run from July 22 to 24 under the theme â€˜Providing a platform for dynamic take-offâ€™.
The Mine Entra exhibition will run concurrently with the mining conference to be held at the same venue to be attended by minister of Mines and Mining Development
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Daniel Chigaru, the ZITF general manager said only two foreign companies who are from the Southern African region had shown interest to participate at this yearâ€™s Mine Entra.
Â â€œWe have so far received responses from three foreign companies, two from South Africa and one from Zambia,â€ said Chigaru.
Chigaru also revealed that the ZITF had so far not received any responses from Europe and the Far East who used to exhibit over the years.
â€œWe have not received any bookings from countries in Europe, the Far East and the West to exhibit at the 2009 Mine Entra,â€ Chigaru said.
Chigaru said the snub of the Mine Entra by powerful European countries and the Far Eastern countries will not do well for the countryâ€™s economy as it seeks foreign currency from investors to jump-start the decade long economic recession.
â€œThe snub does not augur well for the resuscitation of the mining and engineering sector as the exhibition forms an ideal marketing forum for mining and engineering companies,â€ said Chigaru.
The mining industry is still failing to attract new investment despite the governmentâ€™s withdrawal of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill last week.
The controversial mines and minerals bill demands foreign-owned mines to surrender 51% stake to indigenous businessmen, and including giving the government a free 25% stake.
President Robert Mugabe was quoted last year saying the bill will broaden the participation in the mining sector by indigenous people.
But this has backfired as potential foreign mining investors have continued to shy away from the country as they fear for their investments.
The country is rich in minerals and the mining sector has contributed a third of the export revenue.
BY HENRY MHARA