By JOHN KOMBE
THE mining equipment which Government donated to the gold mining cooperatives in Rufunsa has not been used since last year.
In an interview, Rufunsa Town Council chairman, Bartholomew Kalambalala, observed that the snail’s pace at which the four cooperatives in the district were moving was a source of concern.
Mr Kalambalala wondered why the mining activities which were supported through the donation of equipment and licensing of cooperatives were not taking off.
He pointed out that the cooperatives which were formed more than a year ago were not using the equipment, which was now lying idle.
Mr Kalambalala noted that the equipment came at a great cost and as such must be utilised so that the country could start deriving the benefits.
He challenged the four gold mining cooperatives to get to work and show reason why the government must continue supporting them.
Mr Kalambalala stressed that Government was resolved to empower young people through various initiatives.
He said legalising gold mining was just one way of achieving that goal and was optimistic that the gold mining cooperatives in Rufunsa would heed the call and get to work.
He also appealed to the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development to consider partnering with the local authority to help curb illegal mining activities in the area.
In his view, the local authority was better placed to monitor the activities because mining was taking place within its jurisdiction.
Chimwetu Gold Mining Cooperative chairman, Emmanuel Tembo, admitted the delay in starting operations.
He however said that the delay was due to logistical and technical challenges between the four cooperatives and ZCCM-IH.
Mr Tembo said that the four cooperatives had finally agreed to commence operations at the end of this month.
“All the four cooperatives met and we have agreed to commence operations. We will start with one site at a time, then we will decide which way to go depending on the availability of gold in the four designated sites,” Mr Tembo said.
He also appealed to illegal miners to consider joining any of the four cooperatives.
The four cooperatives in the district are Pokela, Chimwetu, Kamandu and Chipeketi gold mining cooperatives, which would be operating in Chipketi area in Mankanda ward.