By KENNEDY MUPESENI –
THE Government should tighten security in Lufwanyama emerald mine restricted areas to curb rampant encroachments and formalise the mining subsector.
Emerald and Semi-precious Miners Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) general secretary Shadrick Mwape said through illegal mining activities, the country was being robbed of much needed revenue hence the need to intensify security measures.
“We are from there, the police are allowing vehicles without clearance from mine owners or the association as the mining Act stipulates, there is need to strengthen security measures in these areas for the benefit of the country,” Mr Mwape said.
He said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that illegal mining had the capacity to derail potential investments as most of the investors would not feel secure investing in an area where they were not feeling safe, thus security measures needed to be looked critically.
Mr Mwape reiterated that a well-structured emerald industry had the potential to contribute significantly to the economic development.
In 2018, the association would like to see the small scale emerald supported by the Government for it contribute significantly to the economy of the country.
ESMAZ vice treasurer Moffat Mukwala said the organisation would like to see the emerald subsector supported by Government like the agriculture sector because of its massive potential.
“This year we are ready to work with Government to develop the sector.
We lack equipment and capital to go into full production that is why stakeholders should come in support the sector,” Mr Mukwala said.
He said the association had been making advances to forge partnerships with foreign investors which he hoped would be realised this year.
“We have been approaching investors and other stakeholders on the issue of partnerships which we hope to achieve this year ,” Mr Mukwala said.