Illegal mining escalates in Mkushi

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—–The Mkushi Regional Mining Bureau (MRMB) has bemoaned the escalating pattern of illegal mining activities taking place in both Mkushi and Luano districts.

MRMB Filed Surveyor, Mwanga Chishimba, confirmed the development to ZANIS, saying illegal mining activities have been rampant since the beginning of this year.

He singled out miners in possession of prospecting licenses as being amongst the major perpetrators of these unlawful activities.

The Field Surveyor pointed out that the issue of illegal mining presented situations in which the aspects of safety for workers as well as environmental concerns, were overlooked.

Mr Chishimba noted that illegal miners overlooked these aspects as they felt that they had no obligation other than to get profit from production of minerals and gemstones.

He said that in view of this, his department had never relented in sensitising the miners on the importance of formalising mining operations by obtaining valid licenses from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development.

He said the department had also applied another strategy in which the local leadership, such as District Administration, traditional leaders as well as civic leaders, would play a major role in encouraging miners to formalise their operations.

Mr Chishimba further attributed the easy access to market for manganese rock within the district as being amongst the factors that precipitated the escalation of illegal mining.

“Although the average price for manganese is currently at about K30 ($5) per tonne, illegal miners have easy access to market such as people dealing with manganese processing, and this fuels rampant illegal mining”, he said.