JERABOS, the small scale miners based on the Copperbelt, are angry and disappointed that Government has ignored their grouping in the allocation of the black mountain.They were promised to be heard when their slug dump operations were suspended, but nothing happened. They are surprised that promises that they would be engaged in the process of re-aligning operations of the black mountain, have not been fulfilled.
The small scale miners however, feel that they should not be marginalised because they have been working from the slug dump for a long time.
They said, they believed that the suspension of the operations was to allow government to realign their working arrangement and not to be shunted out.
Their complaint follows Mines Minister, Paul Kabuswe’s comments that all important people were consulted before the black mountain or slug dump was given to the youth cooperatives as announced by President Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr Kabuswe has clarified that important people were consulted when selecting youth and women cooperatives that would benefit from mining at the Nkana slug dump .
Mr. Kabuswe was responding to concerns from some small scale miners on the Copperbelt that they were not engaged in the selection process and don’t even know who the beneficiaries are.
He said the ministry made wide consultation with the necessary people who included women in mining, women and youth cooperatives as well as the community.
‘’As far as I am concerned, the necessary people were consulted, we didn’t arrive at this just within our heads, it’s because we consulted the necessary people and that is why we are where we are today,’’ he said.
Mr Kabuswe was speaking yesterday when he received a solidarity message from youths to President Hakainde Hichilema on the release of the black mountain.
He has assured youths who have not benefited from the slug dump of more job opportunities in the mining sector.
Mr. Kabuswe stated that his ministry was negotiating for release of more slug dumps and tilling dams from the owners so that there were enough job opportunities for the youths.
‘’It is not the end of the world, negotiations have begun on other slug dumps and tilling dams with those that own them so there will be enough for everyone,’’ he assured.