The Musele Chiefdom in north-western Zambia has demanded that agreements signed between the government and mining investors to set up mining operations in its chiefdom be immediately halted because they have not taken the interests of people of the region into consideration.Zambia is governed both by the Republican constitution and customary law which is headed by traditional leaders who head tribal chiefdoms around the country that are headed by chiefs.
Musele Chiefdom spokesperson Jeff Njolomba told journalists on Friday that the big companies that have been given a number of concessions to set up huge open cast copper mining operations had greatly disadvantaged the people in the area.
One of the mines, called Kalumbila and operated by a Canadian mining conglomerate, covers large swathes of the Musele Kingdom and has had to relocate people living in the area to enable mining to commence.
He said Chief Musele and his Council of Elders were however unhappy that people being moved to other areas were only being offered a half acre of land each family instead of four hectares that the Council had demanded.
He said the proposed development of Kalumbila town under which the company plans to put up infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals and houses for its employees would further push local residents away from their traditional land.
The Chiefdom wants all development plans by the mining firm stopped to allow consultations between the Chief’s representatives, the government and the investor.