A WELL modelled Kasenseli Gold mine project is critical to Zambia’s economic turnaround.
The discovery of gold deposits at the Mwinilunga based mine has excited a lot of stakeholders.
Alas, the way the mine was modeled left a lot to be desired as it brought a ‘resource curse’ where illegal miners camped around the mine as well as locals who discovered the mineral felt cheated.
In addition, the mine was not well benched to conform to modern mining requirements and lives lost in the process as the mine gave room to encroachment.
It’s good that the new Government acted quickly to halt operations after a tour of the mine by Mines and Mineral Development Minister Paul Kabuswe and ministry officials in October this year.
The other bone of contention was that locals who discovered the rich gold spot were not benefiting.
In this vein, the Government has indicated the commencement of community engagements leading to the resumption of operations at the gold mine.
In this regard, meetings with Chief Chibwika are going on this week to involve the locals on how best the mine will be managed.
The ministry will also engage the Kasenseli community as part of the consultation process.
It is encouraging that the process of restoring order at Kasenseli has advanced.
There is need to ensure that the security of the mining project is top notch before it resumes operations.
Before the suspension, Chief Chibwika of Mwinilunga district had called on the government to shut down the operations stating that the mine was operating without land rights and consent from his chiefdom.
Going forward, there is need to heed to voices like that of mine expert Mwiya Songolo who called on the Government to come up with a locally beneficial mining model before resumption of operations.
As Mr Songolo said, the Government and the shareholders should come up with a gold mining model that can create more economic value to the community and the country as whole.
Indeed, the mine should be well developed into a modern mine to ensure safety of workers.
Shareholders should ensure that the right equipment is procured and deployed while ensuring that the mine is benched.
Social license to operate should also be enhanced for smooth running of the mine and ensure local benefits such as harnessing of jobs are realised.
There is a need to reach a consensus between the community and investors for progress to rain looking at the critical nature of the mineral resource.