By ROGERS KALERO
SMALL-SCALE Miners will seek guidance on 30 percent share they had already negotiated from the “Black Mountain” which is owned by Nkana Alloy before the Ministry of Mines decided to suspend all mining activities from all the dumpsites on the Copperbelt.
The small-scale miners will seek audience and guidance from the “New Dawn” government of President Hakainde Hichilema on how best they should proceed regarding the issue.
Chairman of the Small-Scale Miners Association Kelvin Tembo said during a press briefing at Garden Court Hotel in Kitwe that the association was non-partisan but works with the government of the day to advance the interests of its members.
Mr Tembo, who is also Chapamo Mineral Resources Director, said small-scale miners have been fighting to get a fair share from the “Black Mountain” time of the MMD government up to today when they were now seeking the audience with the “New Dawn” government.
“We have been fighting to get a fair share from the time of MMD up to now. During the time of the Patriotic Front (PF), we were given 10 percent. After that, we engaged Nkana Alloy over the same and we were given 30 percent.
“We acquired the 30 percent from Nkana Alloy before the government decided to suspend all mining activities from all dumpsites. So this is why we are now seeking audience and guidance on how best we should proceed regarding this issue,” Mr Tembo said.
On concerns from the UPND cadres and certain quarters of society that only few individuals had benefitted from the “Black Mountain,” Mr Tembo said every sector has prominent people who understand various issues in the sector.
Mr Tembo said those who want to join the sector must humble themselves and learn from those who have been in the sector for a long time, instead of being confrontational.
“I know that some people have been saying that only few people have dominated the Black Mountain, but the truth of the matter is that every sector has some few and renowned people who have dominated it.
“If you go in the fishing industry, you will find same faces, if you go in the engineering industry, you find same faces. That is how society is. So those who want to join us, must be humble and learn the ropes in the small-scale industry,” he said.
Mr Tembo pleaded with the media to help change the public perception of some small-scale miners whom some people were calling ‘Jerabos’ a name associated with thuggery and unruly behaviour.
He said, while the association was talking to some of its members to desist from thuggery and violent behaviour which had earned the association a bad name, the media should also help in changing the public’s perception.
“You, the media, you should stop calling us, Jerabos. You should be calling us, small-scale miners. The name Jerabo is very weird and is mostly associated with violence. Help us to change public perception
“Just like any association, you may have one or two people who are violent, but that does not mean everyone is violent. We have been talking to our members on the same and we hope they will change,” Mr Tembo said.