Remove illegal miners from Mpika gold site
Published On October 10, 2023 » 849 Views» By Times Reporter » Opinion
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IT is disturbing that rampant illegal mining in the country has continued unabated despite several interventions by law enforcement agencies.
One may wonder if this illegality is thriving because some people genuinely lack alternative income-generating opportunities or it is just an organised crime spearheaded by some illegal mining syndicates.
Many mines across Zambia have been invaded with reports of illegal miners being killed while digging for various minerals, now becoming daily news.
Shockingly women and little children have also been initiated in this illegality.
Like we have stated before, this trend undermines formal mining activities, thus reducing the much-needed investor confidence and ultimately limiting Government revenue.
We therefore understand the frustrations of Muchinga Province Minister Henry Sikazwe who expressed his displeasure over the continued increase of illegal mining activities in the area.
Mr Sikazwe is worried at the rising numbers of people who have invaded Kanyelele Gold Mine in Mpika District and that despite his office reporting the matter to the ministries of Defence, Home Affairs and Mines, nothing much has been done.
If these illegal miners are not removed from the site, the minister fears that lives could be lost as cases of dysentery have continued being recorded in the area.
It is hoped that like Mines and Mineral Development Permanent Secretary Hapenga Kabeta promised normalcy will return to Kanyelele Gold Mine.
Still on mining, it is refreshing to hear from Dr Kabeta that the Government is contemplating to start full-scale sugilite mining in Luapula Province next year.
The Government has already dispatched geologists to the province to examine the extent of the available mineral.
Dr Kabeta stated that geological findings will determine the nature of investment required in the area.
Some geologists were earlier sent to Muyombe in Mansa for 30 days and another team is expected in the area this week to conduct further investigations for 20 days.
Another group will be in Muyombe next month for drilling, but this is subject to the findings of the second probe.
More geologists will be dispatched to Milenge on a similar mission.
This news should bring the needed relief to the people of Luapula who for some time now have been complaining of rampant illegal mining of sugilite in the area.
Several people have been arrested for mining sugilite illegally.
It is hoped that more of such activities are extended to other areas where they are reports of mineral deposits.
In the same vein, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) needs to heed President Hakainde Hichilema’s call to expedite the issuance of approvals of environmental licences for artisanal miners to help reduce illegal mining.
There have been concerns by artisanal miners that there was a prolonged delay by ZEMA to issue environmental approvals to artisanal and small scale miners.

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