Thu, 24 Nov 2016 12:49:03 +0000
THE European Union (EU) has approved a grant of Euro 400, 000 for the exploration of gemstone and precious stones in Zambia aimed at promoting the sector.
According to Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development permanent secretary, Paul Chanda, the grant would complement Government’s efforts in trying to revamp the gemstone and precious stones industry.
“On Government to revamp the sector, we are working very hard. We are lucky we were given some funding by the EU of Euro 400, 000 which will go a long way in exploring the sector,” he said.
Mr Chanda also said Government was at the moment undertaking a scoping exercise countrywide targeted at the industrial minerals small businesses such as people in stone crushing.
He explained that the main purpose of the exercise scheduled to end in next month was to empower stone crushers and sand dealers.
“At the moment we are doing a scoping exercise; we are going around the country getting information from the people on the ground and for the first time we are targeting people in the industrial minerals.
“We want to ensure that the sub-sector improves, well equipped and recognised by the Government such that at some point we approach them for taxes because we could have built them to a point of self-sustenance,” he said.
Mr Chanda further explained that once the exercise ended, Government would then train selected people in January next year on how to exploit their businesses.
“These are people breaking stones, we also have a small grant to that, and these are our targets including sand dealers. The exercise ends this December and we will do the analysis then start training them in January on how to maximise and make money in that business.
“We want to encourage more investments in the industry and attract more exploration to look for new deposits in the country, even in places in Zambia which have not yet been explored because this industry has a bright future,” he said.