By KENNEDY MUPESENI –
GOVERNMENT is keen to formalise the illegal mining of Silica, a mineral processing feedstock, in Mufulira to boost the industry’s contribution to the mining town’s economy.
Kankoyo Member of Parliament(MP) Brian Mushimba said he has acquired two mining licenses from the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development on behalf of two cooperatives in the constituency to enable them formalise mining activities.
“My main aim is to economically empower residents so that they start participating in the country’s economy. Recently I pushed for the mining licenses for the residents of Zimba compound who are doing illegal mining of silica which I am going to hand over in the next two weeks,” Mr Mushimba said.
He said this in an interview in Mufulira at the weekend that Government would like to see formal mining operations in the area, hence the reason it has embarked on legalisation of small scale illegal mining activities.
Mr Mushimba, who is also Transport and Communications Minister, said miners were being exploited through the offer of low deals since their activities were not licenced.
“They have been exploited because their activities are not legal but now that they will operate as legal entities, their bargaining power will be boosted,” he said.
The Kankoyo lawmaker said the idea was to link the smale scale miners to mining houses that would buy minerals and in turn boost the economy in the district.
Mr Mushimba has established a robust empowerment programme that would also see 4000 chicks delivered to selected poultry cooperatives in the constituency in an effort to increase economic activities in the area.
“I have bought 4000 birds to be given to poultry cooperatives ,the idea is not to give handouts but an empowerment which will give an economic life to the people who have ideas but lack capital to materialise those ideas,” he said.