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Sanitise Gold Mining for Maximum Revenue

MINING has for over five decades been the mainstay of the country’s economy and has been the goose which has laid the golden eggs.
It has provided employment – direct and indirect – to thousands of Zambians and expatriates, as well as being the net foreign exchange earner.
Copper and other metals such as cobalt, lead, nickel and zinc have kept the economic wheels running as they are some of the most essential elements with strategic and irreplaceable industrial uses world over.
But the resumption of mining activities in North-Western Province, starting with Kansanshi in Solwezi and Lumwana in Kalumbila district, has added another dimension following the discovery of gold.
This has meant that Zambia’s mining portfolio has value addition, what with emeralds which are mined in Lufwanyama district on the Copperbelt.
Last week, Vice-President Inonge Wina told Parliament that more than 24,000 kilogrammes of gold was produced by four mining companies in Zambia from 2017 to February 2019.
Mrs Wina, however, said it was difficult to be exact about the figure due to rampant illegal mining of gold taking place all over the country.
Under-declaration of the actual production figures of gold by some mines cannot also be ruled out as there is no independent verification of the same.
While gold mined at Kansanshi, Lumwana and other mines is said to be aligned to copper, the discovery of pure gold at Kasenseli in Mwinilunga district of North-Western Province should make the difference.
There has been illegal mining at Kasenseli since the gold was discovered. The gold rush has unfortunately led to loss of lives.
It is public knowledge that charter planes have been landing in North-Western Province taking out gold (and suspected diamonds) that has been clandestinely mined.
Government cannot watch illegality to continue at Kasenseli and has since suspended all mining activities where about 2,000 illegal miners reportedly dig gold at the premises during the night.
The suspension of mining activities at Kasenseli Gold Mine has been made in public interest to bring order in Mwinilunga and security wings will be manning the facility.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa said on Saturday that Cabinet resolved to suspend the mining activities at the facility to put in place a robust mining exploration programme.
It is also alleged that foreigners have camped in Mwinilunga to conduct illegal mining at Kasenseli.
The Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines–Investment Holding (ZCCM-IH), in partnership with the community in Mwinilunga, will oversee operations at the mine.
It has become inevitable for the State, through ZCCM-IH, to normalise gold production at Kasenseli for the benefit of all the stakeholders.
It is a pity that ZCCM-IH has been very slow to possess the mine and find partners to start production.
The country is in a hurry to develop and needs all the sales of its minerals to enhance foreign exchange earnings.
Gold is one of the best-selling minerals on the world market.
The successful production of gold will change the fortunes of Mwinilunga, which has for a long time relied on pineapples.
It also confirms the status of North-Western as the new copper belt region of the country.
Government will ensure that the gold endowment of Kasenseli is felt by all citizens in Mwinilunga and beyond as the revenue from exports will go towards social sectors such as health, education and cash transfer.
Going forward, ZCCM-IH should be proactive by being on top of things as opposed to waiting for illegal miners to discover minerals.
This country has trained and is still training geologists to ensure that all mineral-rich areas are zoned and protected.


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