Scott guides mining firms on radiation

Mine workers at NFC Africa Mining shaft at Chimbishi
Mine workers at NFC Africa Mining shaft at Chimbishi

[The] GOVERNMENT has urged mining companies operating in Zambia to work closely
with the Radiation Protection Authority (RPA) in order to protect workers and the environment around mining areas.
Vice-President Guy Scott said uranium exploration and mining activities should have stronger regulatory control by the protection board.
He said despite the use of radioactive and nuclear materials in various industries and medical applications, there was need for the materials to be properly regulated to protect the public from unnecessary radiation that could cause health complications.
Dr Scott said this in a speech read for him by Health Minister Joseph Kasonde at the official opening of the Radiation Protection Authority stakeholders meeting in Lusaka on Wednesday.
“These nuclear materials if not properly regulated can lead to unnecessary ionizing radiation exposure to the public, workers, patients and the environment which may lead to unnecessary radiation, health related diseases and even deaths,” Dr Scott said.
RPA Board chairperson, Esther Nkandu said the Authority had faith in Government being committed to the safety and security of the public from harmful effects that may arise from sources emitting ionizing radiation in the country.
Ms Nkandu said the current Board of the RPA was put in place in May last year and had so far achieved the recommended signing and ratification of international conventions and treaties.
She said the Board had also developed the strategic direction of the Authority and ratified a suitable organisational structure to effectively deliver the mandate of the RPA.
Ms Nkandu said the RPA had begun the recruitment process in a phased approach and that advertisements were already running.
She expressed gratitude to the International Atomic Energy Agency for supporting the Authority in many areas such as training of staff, expert advice and other technical cooperation projects.
She said some of the challenges RPA was facing included the lack of built physical infrastructure, house laboratories and other offices to enable it to effectively carry out its