ESMAZ asks gemstone companies to work on roads

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:57:47 +0000

 

By ROGERS KALERO

GEMSTONE mining companies in Lufwanyama District should go beyond paying tax but start working on the roads in mining areas, says Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) General Secretary Shadreck Mwape.

Mr Mwape said the main road to the mining area was in a bad state and so it was only reasonable that, apart from paying tax to government, mining companies should start working on the roads around mining sites.

The ESMAZ chief said in an interview that it was shameful that the road leading to the gemstone area could be in such a deplorable state.

“When we approach some of these gemstone mines regarding rehabilitating the bad state of the road, they say they pay tax to government so they cannot rehabilitate the roads, but as ESMAZ, we think they should go beyond paying tax and start working on the roads in the mining area.

“The road leading to the gemstone area passing through Chief Nkana is in a deplorable state and needs urgent rehabilitation works. As an association, we would like to see a better road leading to the gemstone area,” Mr Mwape said.

“I think if we have an SI which will compel mining companies to both pay tax and work on the roads in the areas they are operating from, then things would be much better. Even government’s efforts of road rehabilitation will be greatly supplemented.”

And two chiefs in Lufwanyama district have been implicated in the illegal land allocation in the restricted emerald area which has seen an influx of illegal miners and charcoal burners invading the area.

Mr Mwape said investigations by his association revealed that chiefs were allegedly allocating farm plots in the restricted emerald area.

Mr Mwape, who could not name the two Chiefs for fear of victimisation, said the emerald area was under the government, but surprising enough, the chiefs were giving out farm lands to individuals in the restricted area.

He said the practice was contrary to the Ministry of Mines Act which did not allow people to settle or carry out agricultural activities in the mining area.

He said plots number 456 and 377 were some of the restricted emerald areas where the two traditional leaders had illegally allocated farm plots to individuals.

He said the squatters and illegal miners in the restricted emerald area were a hindrance to the development of the gemstone sector.

 

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