Shun Zimbabwe, British premier tells coporates

June 25th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown
London, June 25 (DPA) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Wednesday urged companies to refrain from investment in Zimbabwe and said his government was preparing “intensified sanctions” against members of President Robert Mugabe’s regime. “Businesses and individuals who have any dealing with Zimbabwe must examine their own responsibilities and must not make investments that prop up the regime,” Brown said in parliament in London.

He said his government would seek to extend the financial and travel sanctions already imposed on 160 individuals in the entourage of Mugabe.

“Where businesses are helping the Zimbabwean regime, they should reconsider their position now,” he said.

His remarks came after Anglo American, the London-based mining giant, confirmed it was planning a new investment of $400 million to build a platinum mine in Zimbabwe.

The company Wednesday defended its plans, saying that the project in Unki, central Zimbabwe, had been in development since 2003. It stressed that the company had been an investor in Zimbabwe, and the former Rhodesia, for the past 60 years.

“Anglo American is deeply concerned about the current political situation in Zimbabwe and condemns the violence and human rights abuses that are taking place,” the company said.

“Anglo American is monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe very closely and is reviewing all options surrounding the development of the project.

“It has been made clear to Anglo American that if it ceases to develop this project, the government of Zimbabwe will assume control.”

The company added that it was in “full compliance with all relevant national and international laws relating to its activities in Zimbabwe.”

But analysts said Anglo American’s move was driven by a desire to boost profits, as demand for commodities grew and rivals stepped up competition for resources in Africa - including firms from China.

Nearly 90 percent of the world’s platinum reserves are in southern Africa and the largest producer by far is Anglo American, through its subsidiary, Anglo Platinum.

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