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Manganese sub-sector key to economic turn around – Chief Mwewa

By SANFROSSA MANYINDA

A WELL organised manganese mining sub-sector has the capacity to turn around the country’s economic fortunes, Chief Mwewa of Chifunabuli District in Luapula Province has said.

Chief Mwewa said although the country’s manganese mineralisation data was endowed with the energy mineral, recent mining activities in the area showed that there was abundance.

He said the disorganized nature of the mining subsector, however, left much to be desired as not only the Government was losing potential revenue but also the safety proposition which was endangering lives.

He said the level at which the mineral was being discovered in the province was overwhelming, hence calling on the Government machinery to move in the province ‘armed’ with production oriented policies for mining activities to support economic growth.

“It is evident that what is encouraging illegal mining of the manganese is that once the community discovers, investors are invited and locals lose out.

“This is forcing residents who discover the mineral at their backyards to start ‘illegal’ mining in that if they report the discovery they stand to lose out,” he said.

The traditional leader said that in order to encourage legal mining, the community that discovered the mineral should be allowed to partner with investors who could bring in equipment and mine in a safe way.

He said the other way was to allow those that discovered the minerals to have a share in the mines they discovered so that they have perpetual income.

He further suggested that the law which stated that surface natural resources were for the locals but underneath natural resources were for the State should be changed.

He said the law needed to change so that locals who discovered certain minerals benefit and the entire community getting a beneficial share.

He said the Government was losing a lot of potential revenue due to rampant illegal mining activities in the area.

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