By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA –
THE National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) has called on the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and Non-Ferrous Mining Corporation of Africa (NFCA) to quickly resolve their standoff on the South East Ore-Body (SEOB) project in Chambishi.
ZEMA a month ago ordered a halt in the implementation of the SEOB on grounds that NFCA had failed to comply with regulations on compensation and relocation of surrounding communities.
The move ultimately led to over 500 miners who were working on the project being laid off.
NUMAW president James Chansa said in Kitwe yesterday that there was need for ZEMA and NFCA to quickly resolve the differences so that implementation of the SEOB project could resume and workers reinstated.
Mr Chansa said the SEOB project remained suspended because ZEMA had not given NFCA the licence to resume implementation of the project.
“You know mining is the mainstay of Zambia’s economy and this being so, issues bordering on mining should be treated with utmost urgency and seriousness they deserve so that the plight of people is not adversely affected,” Mr Chansa said.
He said for 500 miners at SEOB to abruptly lose jobs was something serious, especially that the affected people had families to look after.
“As it is now, the laid off miners including their families have been left in suspense over what the future holds for them and this is why there is need for ZEMA and NFCA to quickly address the problem that caused suspension of the project,” he said.
Mr Chansa said he was optimistic that Government would loo into the plight of the laid off miners who had placed their hope in the SEOB project.
The SEOB project is aimed at extending the lifespan of the current NFCA mine in Chambishi and once completed, it is earmarked to create a further 1, 500 jobs.