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`REVOKE GOLD LICENCES’

… ‘Hungry’ gold miners selling licences cheaply

By GIDEON NYENDWA

GOVERNMENT must cancel gold mining licences because most of the beneficiaries are selling them to foreigners who have now invaded gold sites in Eastern Province, senior headman Nyampande, John Mambo has said.

Bishop Mambo said it was against the Zambian policy for gold to mostly benefit foreigners.

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He said in an interview that the rampant illegal transfer of ownership of gold licences that was taking place must be stopped.

Bishop Mambo said Government needed to take serious action to ensure that they curb the illegal mining and ensure that Zambians benefit from the newly discovered gold.

He observed that the foreigners were taking advantage of the desperate locals by buying the mining licences cheaply.

Bishop Mambo, who is former Civil Society for Constitution Agenda board chairperson, said there was an influx of foreigners who were buying mining licences that were given to Zambians without getting the consent from the authorities.

“If a licence can be transferred from others with the consent of the ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, that will mean our gold will be free for all,” he said.

Bishop Mambo said the ministry of Mines should make sure that there is coordination between them and the gold mines to ensure that the Zambians benefit from the gold the country has.

He said it was unfortunate that some of the gold was being smuggled out to some neighbouring countries because the mining licences were placed in the wrong hands.

Bishop Mambo said if you go to the courts most people who are being prosecuted on illegal gold mining are foreigners which simply indicates the security wings are not doing enough to protect the people.

 “Government should bring sanity to this sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bishop Mambo has written to the minister of Mines and Mineral Resources so that the new Nyampande Pamodzi Multipurpose Gold Cooperative could meet him and discuss how they are going to work to ensure that the mines benefit the local people first.

He said the community and the chiefs from where the mines are located must be involved and benefit first and that can only be done if there is an understanding before issuing the licence.

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