By PETER SICHALI
ILLEGAL foreign gold miners are still scavenging sites in Rufunsa and other areas at an alarming rate, threatening to deplete the resource, Nyampande village headman, Bishop John Mambo has said.
Bishop Mambo said foreigners have continued to invade gold sites despite security officers being deployed to guard the resource.
He wondered how local people would benefit from gold if illegal mining by foreigners was not curtailed.Bishop Mambo said the numbers of foreigners at gold sites in Rufunsa had even doubled.
“So far we have seen commitment from the Minister of Mines and the permanent Secretary to address the issue of illegal gold mining in Rufunsa and other areas but these people are still coming in numbers,” Bishop Mambo said.
He said it was important that traditional leadership through royal establishments were fully involved in giving of licences and monitoring of activities at gold sites.
Bishop Mambo said there was need for the country to guard jealously against foreigners exploiting resources.
He said no one should be given a licence without convincing the local communities on how they would benefit.
“First and foremost communities in the mining areas should benefit and later on the royal establishments but that can only happen once foreign invasion of gold mining sites is addressed,” Bishop Mambo said.
He said the country was losing millions of Kwacha through illegal mining by foreign nationals.
Bishop Mambo said there was need for all stakeholders to put their heads together to end illegal gold mining.