Local News

ILLEGAL GOLD DEALS IRK CHIEFS

By NOEL IYOMBWA

THE smuggling of gold by foreigners must be stopped at all costs because they are ripping the country of much-needed resources, chiefs have said.

Chief Kaputa of the Tabwa people said the influx of foreigners buying gold cheaply from small-scale miners was a source of concern.

He said the country was being denied revenue in taxes because of the rampant smuggling of gold.

Chief Kaputa said the foreigners were taking advantage of the locals by buying gold cheaply.

“They smuggle the gold to other countries where they sell at good prices,” he said.

The traditional leader observed that the influx was similar to the 1970-80 scenario when a number of foreigners, mainly from Senegal and Mali, came into the country for the gemstones on the Copperbelt, Eastern and Southern provinces.

Chief Kaputa said exploration of minerals, especially gold, should stop immediately so that Government could put in place a proper system.

The traditional leader said Government should give priority to locals when giving mining rights. “The solution is that Government should engage traditional leaders to see the best way that the local people can benefit from our God-given minerals.

“Government should also come up with deliberate policies to see to it that local people benefit by equipping them with knowledge and resources to start legal mining,” he said.

And Chief Chikwanda of Mpika said the government should put up serious restrictions to protect the country’s minerals resources.

Chief Chikwanda observed that the Ministry of Mines had not taken the issue of protecting mining seriously, hence the high number of foreigners who were smuggling the minerals. “Government should empower local mining dealers by training them and creating market for them at the Ministry of Mines like it is done with farmers where they sell to the government through FRA,” he said.

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