- What is surprising is why illegal miners have the audacity to invade what is now supposed to be a heavily protected area con-sidering that there are precious gold deposits there.
WHY have illegal miners found it so easy to enter the country and mine gold and other precious minerals?
This explains why 32 illegal miners have been arrested by police in Mwinilunga for criminal trespass into Kasenseli gold mine.
North-Western Province Police Commissioner Elias Chushi says police have also managed to recover some alluvial gold from the illegal miners.
Mr. Chushi says the alluvial gold will be handed over to the mine so that it can quantify how much gold was stolen.
What is surprising is why illegal miners have the audacity to invade what is now supposed to be a heavily protected area con-sidering that there are precious gold deposits there.
This is not the first time that we are writing about poor security particularly in areas where gold deposits have been found.
It is shocking that gold mining, like that of other precious minerals in the country has been the preserve of illegal foreign miners from the neighbouring countries – Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Angola and Congo DR.
We have always advocated for Government to take stock of the country’s mineral wealth and ownership so that the locals enjoy the full benefit of what rightfully belongs to them.
Over the years, we have had foreigners trek into the country and engage in all manner of illegal extraction of the nation’s pre-cious minerals leaving the local population in abject poverty.
This is what is happening in Mwinilunga.
Why have the security wings for example allowed an illegal camp to be set up next to the Kasenseli Gold Mine – this is where the 32 people arrested came from? It should not be there as a security measure in the first place.
Mwinilunga District Commissioner Arnot Mapulanga reported this week that over 500 illegal miners broke into the perimeter wire fence and forced their way into the mining area at Kasenseli gold mine looting undisclosed quantities of alluvial Gold.
Unless Government acts decisively, this cat and mouse game between the illegal miners and security wings will continue.
We have suggested before that apart from securing the mining areas, the government must use the thousands of unemployed youths by bringing them under the Zambia National Service where they could receive some basic training in mining.
We believe such mining cadres would be more patriotic and ensure that the country derived some benefit from the gold deposits.
The ZNS or Zambia Army would be better placed to guard the gold mining areas than the Zambia Police whose officers are said to be conniving with the illegal miners.
In Rufunsa, the government has encouraged the locals to form cooperatives and has provided them with basic equipment to help in their operatives.
There is a lot of gold which is why illegal miners cannot stay away from Kasenseli because they are making a killing, when such income should be coming to Government coffers.
Orderly mining is what must be encouraged so that there is a win-win situation for all – locals and Government.