GOVERNMENT has taken drastic security measures to
stop the illegal exploitation of minerals at the place in Mwinilunga District,
in North-western Province, where hundreds of people descended in search for
Mines and Mineral Development Permanent Secretary, Paul
Chanda, said in an interview in Lusaka recently that he had instructed
inspectors from the ministry to intensify security at the site in order to stop
the illegal mining of the mineral.
Mr Chanda said government did not support illegality and
drastic measures had therefore been put in place to stop the illegal
exploitation of the minerals.
He said it was prudent that government protected the
minerals from unscrupulous people.
Illegality, Mr Chanda said, if left unchecked, would
hinder the country from earning meaningful resources.
He said government would ensure that security was
intensified at gold rush site so that the minerals could be exploited by
well-established mining companies.
He said a named a mining company was expected to start
the exploration for gold in the area and thereafter go into fully fledged
mining of the same.
Mr Chanda said government had already issued an
exploration licence to a named mining company and it was eager to start mining
gold in Mwinilunga.
“I have sent a team to Mwinilunga and it is yet to give a
report on the activities taking place. However as government, we don’t support
any illegality, whether people are being empowered illegally or mining
illegally,” he said.
Mr Chanda said, “And it is not safe for them to engage in
illegal mining, they don’t have any skills in mining, so it’s for their own
safety that they get out of that place.”
And Mr Chanda said government wanted to encourage the
establishment of cooperatives so that they could be given mining licences to
mine gold in the area.
He said government would ensure that local people who
would form cooperatives could be imparted with basic mining practices.