By ROGERS KALERO
GOVERNMENT should dismantle cartels in the emerald industry and also stop the illegal mining and trading in the restricted mining area of Lufwanyama, small-sale miners have said.
Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) General Secretary, Shadreck Mwape said Government should also tackle the lack of security in the restricted areas and the illegal cutting of trees which create an environmental imbalance.
Mr Mwape was speaking when the ESMAZ executive paid a courtesy call on Copperbelt Minister Elisha Matambo in Ndola.
The executive officials discussed various challenges the sector was facing and how best the “New Dawn” government could develop the emerald sub-sector.
“As we congratulate President Hakainde Hichilema and you, our Copperbelt Minister on your appointment, we would like your office to tackle some issues in the emerald mining industry. Some of the issues include dismantling cartels that have been operating in the emerald industry.
“Lack of security in the restricted areas, illegal cutting of trees which create an environmental imbalance, illegal mining and trading activities taking place in the emerald restricted mining area,” Mr Mwape said.
He urged the government to remove squatters in the mining area as a way of improving security because some people could be harbouring criminals.
“As an association, we are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with the current government because it has indicated that it means well in developing various sectors of the economy,” Mr Mwape said
In response, Mr Matambo assured the ESMAZ officials of the government’s commitment to improve operations in the emerald industry.
Mr Matambo said Government was aware of the challenges the emerald sector was facing.
Government, he said, would work hard to bring sanity in the industry which had potential to contribute to economic recovery and national development.