By OLIVER SAMBOKO
THE incoming G o v e r n m e n t should come up with a marshal plan that will ensure artisanal gold miners increase production so that Zambians can truly benefit from the resource, Association of Zambian Women in Mining Grace Njapau Efrati has said.
Ms Efrati also said Government should ensure that women in mining are fully supported through the provision of mining equipment, lowering taxes and other statutory obligations which she said were prohibitive. She said for many years, artisanal miners had been facing a lot of challenges but was confident that with the coming of the new Government more will be done to resolve some of the challenges.
Ms Efrati said they had taken note of the pronouncement by President-elect Hakainde Hichilema that his Government will promote local businesses. Ms Efrati said the organisation was ready to work with the new government to ensure the mining sector was fully developed for the benefit of the country.
“Going forward, we are ready to engage with the new Government to see how we in the mining sector can be helped to increase production,” she said. She said the provision of equipment to small scale miners would not only allow artisanal miners to increase production but also empower them to contribute to the economic development of the country.
Ms Efrati said the taxes and geological fees in the mining sector were too high, resulting in many licence holders especially the women failing to pay and compete with their male counterparts. “Because of these prohibitive statutory obligations that women artisanal mine licence holders have to meet, most local miners especially the women have been disadvantaged,” she said.