- Mr Banda disclosed that a group of artisanal miners who obtained an artisans’ mining right did not follow the required procedure before undertaking the mining activities in Chongwe.
By JOHN KOMBE
GOVERNMENT has suspended mining rights for artisanal gold miners in Chongwe who abrogated legal requirements of obtaining consent from the traditional leadership before commencing mining activities.
Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development director of mines, Fred Banda who confirmed the development described the situation as unfortunate.
Mr Banda disclosed that a group of artisanal miners who obtained an artisans’ mining right did not follow the required procedure before undertaking the mining activities in Chongwe.
He said that the miners were reported to have illegally commenced operations in Chitentabunga and Kangombe villages in Chongwe without consent.
Mr Banda acknowledged that the miners had mining rights from the ministry, but pointed out that there were other legal issues that needed to be followed before such an undertaking.
He said that artisans were required to get consent from the relevant authorities who was in this case her royal highness Chieftainess Nkhomeshya Mukamambo II.
Mr Banda said that an environmental impact assessment also needs to be conducted by the Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) before any mining activities were commenced.
And Headman Nkomeshya who is Zone chairman in the area where the illegal mining is said to have been taking place described the act as unwarranted.
He disclosed that the miners through a Charles Bwalya of Kabwe did earlier write to the BRE seeking authority to mine.
The headman said that the miners however started mining when the royal establishment was still pondering on the application.
Meanwile, the Ministry of Mines has expressed concern over the increase in illegal mining activities in Eastern Province.
Provincial Mines Officer Brian Nyambe said the number of illegal miners was growing because people now know the value of some of the minerals such as Gold.
Mr. Nyambe said the ministry had been emphasising to the people the need to formalize their mining activities.
He was speaking in an interview with ZNBC News on the sidelines of training for small-scale miners organised by the United Nations Development Programme in conjunction with African Caribbean Pacific and European Union.
And the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) says Government needs to amend the Mines and Minerals Development Act No. 11 of 2015 to ensure that Zambians benefit from the mining sector.
PMRC Executive Director Bernadette Zulu said this would help Government to maximise from the 100 percent acquisition of Mopani Copper Mines.
Ms. Zulu said in a statement that the amendment of the Act would ensure proper coordination and an adequate legal framework governing the mines.
She said poor corporate governance has led to the fall of many private and state-owned enterprises around the world.
Ms Zulu said PMRC strongly recommended that principles of corporate governance be embedded in the running of Mopani Copper Mines.