By ROGERS KALERO
GOVERNMENT must consider reducing the fees which small-scale miners pay to obtain the environmental projects briefs, the Africa-Carribean Pacific (ACP) – European Union (EU) has said.
ACP-European Union (EU) development mineral projects country director Lyapa Mwanza said the amount which the miners were paying to obtain the brief was too high and must be reduced.
Mr Mwanza was speaking yesterday at Shebourne Guest House in Kitwe during the official opening of the national consultative meeting on the importance of environmental project briefs for the artisanal and small-scale miners.
“Government should help the artisanal and small-scale miners obtain the environmental projects briefs which had proved to be very difficult for them.
“This has been because of lack of capacity as many of them were just starting their businesses and could not manage to employ technical staff. The amount the miners pay also to obtain the brief was too high and must be reduced,” Mr Mwanza said.
And Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development acting Permanent Secretary Smart Nyirenda called for capacity building among artisanal and small-scale miners in a bid to end their poor environmental and social practices in their mining activities.
Mr Nyirenda said mining operations especially for small-scale mining and quarrying had been associated with poor environmental and social practices.
“The artisanal and small-scale mining sector lacks capacity to conduct mining that ensures practices which maintain the integrity of rivers, forests and ecosystem. Let me emphasise the need to build capacity among the small-scale miners to help safeguard the environment.
“Let me also state that providing the small-scale miners with necessary skills would help minimise the environmental harm caused by extraction, processing and beneficiation of minerals and materials during mining activities,” Mr Nyirenda said.
Mr Nyirenda said with mining being the major sector of the country’s economic growth, Government would continue to encourage investment in the sector not only to ensure increased copper production, but also exploitation of other minerals including those mined by artisanal and small-scale miners.
“In enhancing economic development, the government was implementing a number of strategies aimed at developing artisanal and the small-scale sector such as improving availability of geological information and promotions of investment and facilitation of market linkages,” Mr Nyirenda said.