- Mr Mulenga said the government’s desire was to see to it that illegal mining was completely curbed so that meaningful revenue can be generated from the sector
By PETER SICHALI and SILUMESI MALUMO
Illegal mining of gold and thriving black market trade of the commodity are denying Government and the country substantial revenue.
Now a team of technocrats will be sent to Sinda, Katete, Lundazi, Serenje and Mkushi the main centres of the illicit trade to persuade the miners to form cooperatives to ensure they pay tax, Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga has said.
Mr Mulenga said the government’s desire was to see to it that illegal mining was completely curbed so that meaningful revenue can be generated from the sector.
He said in an interview yesterday, that illegal mining was denying the government to earn revenue, therefore, it need to come to an end.
He was reacting to a mining expert, Mr Danny Mwila was called on the government to legalise illegal gold mining operations by locals giving them licences so that they can start paying taxes and contribute to the treasury.
Mr Mwila said there were currently a lot of illegal mining activities going on in many areas such as Sinda, Katete, Lundazi, Serenje, and Mkushi among others.
He said illegal gold miners should be encouraged to form co-operatives and issue them with artisanal mining licence or panning certificates for them contribute to national development through the payment of tax to the Zambia Revenue Authority.
Mr Mwila said illegal miners should be supported by Zambia Gold Company and Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development by attaching officers who were experts in mining such as geologists and mine engineers to train them in mining to obtain optimal gold from their mining areas where they would be mining once they form cooperatives.
But Mr Mulenga said Government was already issuing panning certificates in areas where gold had been discovered so that it can be mined legally.
Mr Mulenga indicated that currently, about 32 cooperatives had been formed across the country and they had been given panning certificates.
We have taken note, Mr Mulenga said, about the revelations of illegal mining in Sinda, Katete, Lundazi, Serenje and Mkushi and the team will be dispatched so that miners can be encouraged to form cooperatives He said the government would not leave any stone unturned to ensure that illegal mining was eliminated for the betterment of the country.
“I want to inform the nation that as government we have headways to ensure that illegal mining is stopped. We have been issuing panning certificates in order to legalise gold mining. So for the areas where illegal mining has continued we shall ensure that cooperatives are formed so that illegal mining becomes a thing of the past,” Mr Mulenga said.